Hiring picks up, but US jobless rate up to 9 per cent
By Frank Fuhrig May 6, 2011, 17:21 GMT
Washington - Private sector hiring surged in April with the biggest monthly jump in five years, while people with jobs worked more hours, the US Bureau of Labour Statistics reported Friday.
Overall, non-farm payrolls grew by 244,000 last month. The US economy has now added more than 800,000 jobs this year.
The improving job market appeared to have lured more people into the workforce, bumping the unemployment rate up to 9 per cent from 8.8 per cent in March.
The official unemployment rate, derived from a household survey separate from the payroll data, only includes people actively seeking a job. The ranks of frustrated workers who have stopped looking have swelled since the 2008-09 recession.
Private payrolls grew by 268,000 in April, while government employment declined by 24,000.
The overall April gain easily exceeded Wall Street expectations, as Bloomberg News reported that its survey of Wall Street economists showed an average forecast of 185,000 jobs to be added for the month.
Aboard President Barack Obama's plane, Air Force One, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney pointed out to reporters that April was the 14th consecutive month of growth in private sector employment, for a total of 2.1 million jobs, calling it 'obviously good news.'
'We're pleased about that,' he told reporters on the plane. 'We obviously have a lot more work to do. The recession cost the American labor force 8 million jobs, and we're still digging ourselves out of that hole.'
The number of workers unemployed for more than six months fell by 283,000 to 5.8 million people, which cut the rate of long-term jobless to 43.4 per cent of those looking for work.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics revised its March payroll estimate from a gain of 216,000 to a gain of 221,000.
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