The jobs market shook off the winter chills, and showed clear signs of improvement last month. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent, the lowest in more than five years. The Labor Department says employers added 288,000, the most in two years. Employers also added more jobs in February and March than previously estimated. Job creation is accelerating: Employers added an average of 238,000 jobs the past three months. That’s up from 167,000 in the previous three months. The April report came in stronger than expected, but the workforce participation rate sank to 62.8 percent in April from 63.2 percent in March, matching a 35-year low.
Many employers want to add jobs but can’t find people with the right skills. “Employers and academia need to get together and develop these curriculums that are going to help people find jobs,” says Michael Erwin, a senior career adviser with CareerBuilder. College graduates with STEM degrees in science, technology, engineering and math “are definitely going to find jobs and be paid more,” Erwin says. “Once you graduated from college, your education is not over. You need to keep going back and getting those skills.”
Unemployment across the 18-nation eurozone is falling as the region continues to recover from its longest-ever recession. Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, says today that unemployment in March fell to 18.91 million from 18.94 million the month before. Despite the drop, the rate was unchanged at 11.8 percent.
The board of pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has rejected drug maker Pfizer’s sweetened takeover offer. The board says in a statement today that the terms are inadequate and substantially undervalue AstraZeneca. It says the board did not hesitate in rejecting the proposal. The Pfizer bid values AstraZeneca at more than $106 billion. A merger would create the world’s largest drug firm.
A Colorado plan to set up the world’s first financial system for marijuana has cleared its first hurdle in the state Legislature. The bill approved by a House committee is prompted by frustration with recent marijuana banking guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department. The measure would allow state-licensed marijuana businesses to create a financial co-op, sort of an uninsured credit union. The Federal Reserve would still have to grant permission for the co-ops to provide banking services like checking and credit. Sponsors say Colorado must try every option to move the pot industry away from its cash-only roots.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow