Job report: Who hires and who fires?
New York (CNN) All signs pointed to a cooling labor market. Instead, the latest jobs report showed the unemployment rate fell to 3.4% in April after 253,000 jobs were added the previous month.
But employment is not strong across the board, and is concentrated in a handful of industries.
“Employers continue to hire for in-demand skills while cutting back on non-essential workers,”[ads1]; said Becky Frankiewicz, president and chief commercial officer of ManpowerGroup, a staffing agency.
Employment was strongest here
The bulk of the new jobs last month came from gains in professional and business services, healthcare, leisure and hospitality, specialist contractors and food and beverage services.
In total, these five industries employed 165,000 new workers in April. This accounts for 65% of the total jobs added.
Professional and business services, which includes a wide range of jobs such as accountants, lawyers and engineers, added 43,000 jobs, the largest gain of any industry. Average hourly wages for workers in the industry rose by $0.24 to $40.20. That is 20% higher than what the average private worker earned last month.
Where workers were laid off
Although the jobs report showed a net positive gain, there were some significant layoffs.
The biggest cuts hit workers involved in helping other workers get hired, such as recruiters, career counselors and human resources. Across that industry, known as employment services, there were 24,000 layoffs last month.
“It’s the year of efficiency,” said Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter. “Companies are asking recruiters to do more with less and cut costs after two years of spending whatever it takes to fill vacancies.”
Some of the other notable cutbacks were in transit and ground passenger services, where 8,100 workers were laid off; and building construction, where 3,600 workers were laid off. Transit and passenger service jobs include people who work in the mass transit system, as well as taxi and school bus drivers.
Commercial real estate is under a lot of stress lately. Many employees continue to work from home, leaving an abundance of office building floors vacant. Higher interest rates have also caused developers to postpone new building projects.