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The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Money in a Moment: April Economic Snapshot

Unemployment and inflation numbers indicate the risks of “stagflation” appear to be easing.
Anna Tarazevich via Pexels.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Employment Situation Summary for April on Friday. The report shows a slowdown in hiring, with 175,000 new jobs added compared to the 242,000 job average over the past twelve months. GDP grew by 1.6% in the first quarter, falling almost one percentage point below expected numbers — the slowest pace in nearly two years, indicating a potential decline in economic growth and risks of possible stagflation.

The unemployment rate (3.9%), the number of unemployed people (6.5 million), the number of long-term unemployed (1.3 million), the labor force participation rate (62.7%), and the employment-population ratio (60.2%) have all held steady, indicating a consistent labor market.

Similarly, 1.3 million people are long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks or more), 4.5 million people are employed part-time for economic reasons, 5.6 million people are not in the labor force but currently want a job, and 362 thousand people are counted as discouraged workers, keeping in line with numbers from previous months.

Average hourly earnings for non-farm employees on private payrolls rose by 7 cents, or 0.2%, to $34.75, continuing a trend of 3.9% over the past 12 months, while their average weekly working hours dipped by 0.1 hours to 34.3 hours. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and non-supervisory employees increased by 6 cents, or 0.2%, to $29.83, while the average workweek decreased by 0.1 hours to 33.7.

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The recent hiring slowdown, coupled with the steady numbers reported by the BLS, could be seen as a positive development for the Federal Reserve. The Fed has been waiting for inflation to cool down before considering interest rate cuts. While wage growth is not a major concern for the Fed, a gradual economic slowdown could help in the ongoing battle to control inflation.


The Consumer Price Index for April, as released by The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on May 15, showed a 0.3% rise (not including volatile food and energy prices) in April after a 0.4% increase in March. All the item’s CPI increased 3.4% over 12 months before seasonal adjustment. 

The Fed will keep interest rates at their high of 5.25-5.50% until inflation is finally brought back down to a target rate of 2%. Expectations for 2024 have sharply fallen from three to four rate cuts late last year to one. The CME Fedwatch tool shows that a mere 8.4% of the market expects the Fed to announce a cut during their June 21 meeting. 34.9% expect an easing of rates by July, and 67.4% foresee a cut by September.

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About the Contributor
Panni Peschke
Panni Peschke, Design Editor

Panni Peschke is a senior at MAST Academy. A Miami native, her parents hail from Germany and Colombia, giving her an international background and a grasp on three languages.

Panni has been previously published in MAST’s literary magazine, Spilt Milk, and joined The Beacon to exercise her writing abilities. She aims to publish a healthy mix between sociopolitical issues and local experiences for her fellow students to enjoy.

In her spare time, Panni enjoys filling her parent’s counter, cabinet, and oven space with different materials for her baking obsession.

To complement her creative interests, Panni aims to study business to create a balance between arts and sciences.

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