Compared to the biggest gains in the recovery, the figure looks disappointing, even if it would mean the economy would be just 1.2 million fewer jobs than the total number of jobs lost during the pandemic.
“Some might say [job growth is] is normalizing as the economy approaches peak employment,” ADP chief economist Nela Richardson told reporters on Wednesday, adding that she thinks the return to normal will be bumpy.
On Wednesday, the ADP jobs report, which tallies private sector payrolls, came in below expectations, with just 247,000 jobs added in April.
The bottom line: Friday’s report should still be pretty good overall, especially compared to the pre-pandemic period. But it is also clear that the pace of the recovery has entered a new phase.
Weekly jobless claims returned to pre-pandemic levels months ago. Data released on Thursday showed that 200,000 workers last week filed initial claims for unemployment, adjusted for seasonal fluctuations, slightly above expectations and the previous week’s level.
Inflation hurts hiring
Even though these numbers are a month older than Friday’s employment numbers, they are an indication of the appetite for hiring, which should have remained strong in April.
As for the summer months, any relief on the inflation front could also help. Manufacturing, for example, could see more job growth, and leisure and hospitality are also increasing seasonal hiring, Richardson said.
The April jobs report is due out Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET.