After a momentary slump in the number of U.S. temporary job positions, temporary staffing agencies saw temp help climb back with 21,100 new jobs in April, pushing the total to about 2.49 million.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, temp jobs fell to 9,400 in March, which was revised up from the initial report of 7,500 temp jobs.
Temporary jobs were up by 199,800 compared to April 2011, while the contribution of temporary help to the national workforce last month jumped to 1.88 percent, compared with 1.86 the previous month. Employment services, which includes temporary jobs, executive search services and professional employer organizations, grew by 27,700 jobs last month to approximately 3.16 million jobs.
Across all sectors, employers in the U.S. added a weak 115,000 jobs last month, as the unemployment rate dipped from 8.2 percent last month to 8.1 percent. While unemployment dropped, the lackluster data is still expected to fuel concerns among the public over the health of the nation's economic recovery, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Total new hires came in much lower than the 170,000 new jobs that analysts had been anticipating, a letdown that came after a warm winter apparently helped spur job creation.
"The job market was soft in April, given the tepid payroll job gain and the decline in labor force participation. But it isn't as soft as the data suggest, as it reflects payback from the very warm winter, which juiced up job gains earlier in the year," said Mark Zandi, the chief economist for forecaster Moody's Analytics. "Underlying job growth, abstracting from the temporary effects of the weather, is over 175,000 per month. This isn't boom times, but it is solid enough to bring down unemployment further."
Zandi's rose-colored attitude came on the heels of a revision of March's employment data, which showed employment rose by 154,000, rather than an initially reported more lukewarm 120,000. When viewed alongside February's employment, which was also revised up from 240,000 to a remarkable 259,000, the hiring setting in America seems a little more palatable than looking at April alone, the news source stated.
From this angle, U.S. employment growth is something to boast about.
"With upward revisions of 65,000 [private-sector] jobs to the past two months' employment reports, in the first quarter of 2012 private employment expanded by 697,000 jobs, the largest quarterly increase since the first quarter of 2006," said Alan Krueger, the head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. "So far this year, 827,000 private-sector jobs have been added, on net."
Some argued the jobless rate, which fell by one-tenth of a percentage point, is falling only as more workers leave the job market. However, Krueger, who also serves as the White House's chief economist, asserted that this was not the sole reason for the drop in unemployment.
Although participation in the job search market fell in April, Krueger said, the unemployment rate has still fallen by 1 percent since August - much of which can be chalked up to higher employment.
In some sectors, employment saw strong gains that helped bring the number of jobs up. Jobs in the professional and business services industry - which are typically high-paying positions - grew by 62,000. The manufacturing industry saw 16,000 new jobs, and has added 167,000 jobs in the past five months.