The U.S. economy probably notched up another bumper month of hiring in April, tallying with other reports that suggest growth momentum is building in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Payrolls may have risen by 978,000, according to the median estimate of economists, above the 916,000 gain in March, while unemployment is seen falling below 6%. The Labor Department report on Friday will wrap up another busy week of data that also includes April surveys of manufacturers and service providers.
Covid-19 vaccination rates continue to climb, while the Biden administration is eager to keep the federal spending spigots wide open to add more fuel to the economic recovery. Last week, the government said the economy expanded at an annualized 6.4% in the first quarter, spurred by the second-fastest rate of household spending since the 1960s.
Such demand, which is starting to invigorate activity in the pandemic-restrained service sector, is prompting employers to beef up headcounts. Manufacturers alone are projected to have added about 60,000 in April, the most in 10 months.
Even with an almost 1 million increase in April employment, payrolls will be about 7 million shy of their pre-pandemic level, a reason Federal Reserve policy makers kept their benchmark interest rate near zero at last week’s meeting.