U.S. job growth unexpectedly softened in April from the prior month as employers found it difficult to attract workers, a development that's holding back momentum in the labor market.
Payrolls increased 266,000 after a downwardly revised 770,000 March increase, according to a Labor Department report Friday that fell well short of projections. Economists in a Bloomberg survey projected a 1 million hiring surge in April. The unemployment rate edged up to 6.1%.
Treasury yields plunged, while inflation expectations spiraled downward and dollar turned sharply lower. U.S. stock futures maintained gains.
The disappointing payrolls figure leaves overall employment well short of its pre-pandemic level and is consistent with recent comments from company officials highlighting challenges in filling open positions. While job gains accelerated in leisure and hospitality, employment at temporary-help agencies and transportation and warehousing declined sharply.