The Latest: Strong US job gains of 263,000 cuts rate to 3.6%

May 03, 2019 - 8:32 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the April jobs report (all times local):

8:30 a.m.

Hiring jumped in April as U.S. employers added 263,000 jobs, a strong gain that suggests businesses have shrugged off any concerns the economy may slow this year.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell to a new five-decade low of 3.6%, though that drop partly reflected an increase in the number of Americans who stopped looking for work. Average hourly pay rose 3.2% from the previous year, a healthy gain though unchanged from the previous month.

April's figures show that solid economic growth is still encouraging robust hiring, nearly a decade into the economy's recovery from the Great Recession. The expansion is set to become the longest in history in July. Businesses say they are struggling to find workers, but have taken a range of steps to fill jobs, including training more entry-level workers, loosening educational requirements and raising pay.

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12:05 a.m.

U.S. employers are expected to have delivered a solid month of job growth in April, buoyed by a resilient economy that has confounded concerns that 2019 would begin with a slowdown.

Economists have forecast that employers added 181,000 jobs in April and that the unemployment rate stayed at a low 3.8%, according to data provider FactSet. It would follow a 196,000 job gain in March and would roughly equal the average monthly gain for the first three months of the year.

Another decent hiring gain would highlight the economy's steady health just months after many analysts had expressed fear that growth was poised to weaken and a recession might soon occur.

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