WASHINGTON — Construction and manufacturing — two bedrock sectors of the American economy — landed on opposite ends of April's jobs report.
Construction companies added 45,000 jobs during the month, bringing their year-to-date total to 108,000. Most of April's gains came from the "specialty trade contractors" subsector, which includes carpenters, electricians, plumbers and painters.
By contrast, manufacturing job growth remained basically flat, reflecting the beating the industry is taking from the rise in the value of the dollar. A strong dollar makes U.S. exports less competitive in overseas markets because they become more expensive. It also makes imports cheaper for U.S. consumers.
Manufacturers added just 1,000 jobs in March and April combined.
Overall, U.S. employers added 223,000 jobs in April. The unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent, the lowest level since May 2008.