Why HR departments should read April's job report with caution

Is your business prepared for the upcoming hiring spree?

Is your business prepared for the upcoming hiring spree?

We have discussed extensively how businesses are slowly trying to do their part to bring the economy back to its feet, but a lack of action among competitors has kept wages and the unemployment rate largely stagnant. The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed its findings from last month's employment activity, and it appears that the United States is still in a precarious position.

The good

For the first time since September 2008, the unemployment rate reached a historic low of 6.3 percent. This is partly due to the fact that more than 70,000 jobs were created in April, surpassing Bloomberg analysts' projections for the second month in a row. Despite a slow and harsh winter of economic activity, this could be the push employers need to begin using HR software solutions to recruit.

"It's as good as I could have expected," Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Shepherdson told the New York Times. "It was either a post-winter catch up, or the start of a stronger trend. There's no way to know yet, but I'm happy either way."

Retailers, construction companies and service providers led the way in hiring last month, which serves as a sign that activity is beginning to align with the seasons.

The questionable

Unemployment may be at 6.3 percent, but BLS report also explained that the participation rate went from 63.2 percent in March down to 62.8 percent. This could mean that more Americans have given up on finding a job in April or chose not do due to the Easter holiday. Last month's analysis also found that median hourly earnings were $24.31 in April, only a 1.9 percent over the past 12 months, Bloomberg added. 

"The payroll numbers suggest that the economy is recovering from a weather-induced slowdown," Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, added. "we still have not reached the point where workers have negotiating power."

Another thing to keep in mind is that BLS' April report was done a week earlier than usual because of the Easter holiday, so it could have left out thousands openings and hiring protocols. 

RBS U.S. economist Guy Berger noted that the good and bad findings of April's job report shows makes it appear like a " Rorschach test," where one perception of the situation could greatly differ from another. 

Despite this, employers can better manage their own operations with HR software solutions, using a system that can streamline the hiring and onboarding process.