Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement today on the April 2017 employment situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The economy added 211,000 jobs and the unemployment rate decreased slightly to 4.4 percent:
Momentum in the healthy labor market continued this month, easing concerns raised by last month’s disappointing employment growth. The steady tightening of the labor market has finally begun delivering wage growth for workers, with earnings up 2.5 percent over the past year. Changes to health care and immigration policies threaten to slow the economy’s ability to grow further, as does the considerable uncertainty created by the administration’s frequent but ambiguous policy pronouncements. It’s important not to read too much into last week’s weak preliminary GDP estimate, but it’s also possible that the economy has slowed slightly in response to significant business uncertainty about the health care sector—which employs more than 15 million people—and tax policy.
While the labor market has thus far shrugged off uncertainty from the new administration’s many and often contradictory claims about policy plans, maintaining a strong labor market will call for a steadier hand—and we’ve already seen that the Federal Reserve is concerned about some of the administration’s tax plans.
The continued machinations of congressional Republicans in trying to radically change health care law and the administration’s repeated threats to cause insurance markets to implode are unlikely to make the economy grow faster or add jobs. This is an important lesson that the Trump administration should heed sooner rather than later.
Related resource: The State of the U.S. Labor Market: Pre-May 2017 Jobs Release by Michael Madowitz, Annie McGrew, and Gregg Gelzinis
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Allison Preiss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.478.6331.