Higher Paying Jobs Increase

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Job growth last month shifted to higher-paying positions in a sign of a broadening labor market recovery. 

Professional and business services, construction and health care led the solid 223,000 job gains reported by the Labor Department on Friday. Retail and leisure and hospitality lagged. Both have been engines of payroll gains through most of the U.S. employment upswing since 2010.

“We’re seeing more quality jobs,” says Diane Swonk, chief economist of Mesirow Financial. The trend, she says, partly reflects a widening recovery that includes a pickup in full-time positions.

Professional and business services added 62,000 jobs in April, with strong advances in computer systems design, management and technical consulting, and architectural and engineering services.

The construction industry added 45,000 jobs, the most in 15 months, and its payrolls are up 4.6% the past 12 months, compared to a 2.2% rise for total U.S. employment. Average hourly earnings in the sector are $27.28 — $2.41 higher than the average for all private-sector workers.

Although single-family housing starts have been sluggish, spending on multifamily building was up 27% in the first quarter, says Ken Simonson, chief economist of trade group Associated General Contractors. Office construction is also up sharply as companies consolidate locations and renovate, he says. And strong car and truck sales have prompted many manufacturers to build or expand factories.

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Source: USA Today | Paul Davidson

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