The lackluster U.S. jobs report was not a shock.
Recent labor market indicators prior to Friday's jobs report reflected notably slower labor demand growth and shorter work weeks. While employment growth continued in April, it did so at a markedly slower pace than in prior months.
Just 19% of firms reported hiring new workers, while 7% reported layoffs. In addition, the hours worked index dropped eight points to a negative 4.6, its first negative reading in eight months.
On Wednesday, payroll processor ADP's monthly report revealed that the private sector only added a paltry 119,000 jobs in April, appreciably below the 170,000 forecast, and the smallest gain since September 2011.
Employers also have gotten more adept at squeezing more manpower out of fewer workers over shorter hours. Hiring will only pick up when increased demand forces them to do so.