May 3 - The U.S. job market showed surprising strength in April, but 7.9 million Americans are stuck working part time. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The Daily Digit is 7.9 million. This is how many people were working part time in April because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. That's 278,000 more than in March, the U.S. Labor Department said. Julia Coronado, Chief US Economist, BNP Paribas says it is a problem. SOUNDBITE: JULIA CORONADO, CHIEF US ECONOMIST, BNP PARIBAS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We are not using those people's skills, and we are not generating the income growth that full-time jobs would bring." Overall, employment in the United States rose more than expected in April, and hiring was much stronger than previously thought in the prior two months. Most jobs came from professional and business services, food services and drinking places, retail trade, and health care. But some details of the report were consistent with modest economic growth. Construction employment fell for the first time since May, and manufacturing payrolls were flat. Nevertheless, April's better-than-expected reading was even more of a surprise given a string of downbeat economic figures recently, which suggested the economy is in retreat.