Job Market Heats Up, Unemployment Falls in April - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Job Market Heats Up, Unemployment Falls in April

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The jobs recovery is still chugging along, although at this pace it will still take years to get back to a pre-recession labor market. The U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in April, the Department of Labor said Friday.

Hiring last month was broad-based and included higher-paying jobs: Manufacturing gained 12,000 positions. Construction added 32,000. Professional and technical services, which include accounting and engineering positions, gained 25,100 jobs.

"It's a flat out good report. All of the metrics that you want to see improve, did," Tom Porcelli, RBC Capital Market's chief U.S. economist, told Reuters.

A consensus of economists had been expecting an increase of 210,000 non-farm payrolls, with the jobless rate inching lower to 6.6 percent. The job gains in April were the highest since January 2012.

While that's an encouraging sign that the economy is continuing to improve, the unemployment rate told a different story. That number, which comes from a survey of households, shows Americans are dropping out of the labor force and fewer people report they're employed. These trends led to the unemployment rate falling to 6.3%, its lowest level since 2008.

Given the millions of jobs lost in the financial crisis, even modest hiring is still not enough to put the huge backlog of unemployed Americans back to work. Long-term unemployment remains elevated with 3.5 million people out of a job for six months or more.

Economists estimate it could take at least another two years until the job market returns to its pre-recession health, when the unemployment rate was around 4% to 5%.
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