Payroll number shows strength as FOMC meeting shows concern

On Friday, the Labor Department released its estimate for thenumber of jobs created in April.   Nonfarm payrolls rose by 165,000 in the US, beating the median forecast of 140,000.  Revisions to prior months added an additional 114,000 jobs to the employment estimates from February and March.  The unemployment rate also fell to 7.5%, which was a positive as it was driven by an increase in the number of people finding jobs instead of people leaving the labor force.  The workweek shrank to 34.4 hours for all US employees, from 34.6 hours, which may be explained by an increase in part time employment.  In a statement after their meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee said that economic activity is growing at a moderate pace, but fiscal policy is restraining economic growth.   The committee also stated that it is prepared to increase or reduce the pace of its purchases of mortgage and Treasury securities as the outlook for the labor market and/or inflation changes.   We take this as a sign that the Fed will continue its purchases of securities for an extended period of time to protect against the effects of sequestration, even if the rate of job growth continues to improve.