by Valorie H. Rice
Senior Specialist, Business Information
The U.S. added 160,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in April, fewer than the last several months. The April Employment Situation report indicated that professional and business services, health care, and financial activities were the sectors with sectors with the most job gains, while both mining and government lost jobs. The unemployment rate for the nation remained unchanged at 5.0%.
Arizona initial unemployment claims were 6,083 the week ending April 23. The four-week average, which smooths out volatility, was at 5,855 compared to 5,329 the week prior. Nationally, initial applications for unemployment benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 274,000 for the week ending April 30. The four-week average also increased slightly to 258,000.
The U.S. trade deficit decreased to $40.4 billion in March from $47.0 billion in February. Both imports and exports decreased over the month, but the $8.1 billion decrease in imports outweighed the $1.5 billion decrease in exports. The year-to-date trade deficit is 0.8% less than the same period last year.
Home prices were up 6.0% in Phoenix over the year for February, a bit above the national increase of 5.3%, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released April 26. The 12-month increase in Phoenix home prices was 6.1% in January. Of the 20 metropolitan areas in the 20-city composite, Portland had the highest 12-month change in home prices in February at 11.9%, while Chicago had the lowest at 1.8%.