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US unemployment falls to 10-year low in April

By AFP 5 May 2017

Job creation in the world's largest economy rebounded strongly in April, pushing the unemployment rate to its lowest level in 10 years, the US Labor Department reported Friday.

After a slow March, when hiring likely was held down by a winter storm, the US economic engine added an estimated 211,000 net new positions while the jobless rate fell a tenth to 4.4 percent, the lowest since May 2007.

The result handily surpassed an analyst consensus, which had predicted 180,000 new jobs for the month, and rebound in the unemployment rate to 4.6 percent.

The news could offer the White House a measure of relief after a first quarter when economic data appeared to have softened. President Donald Trump has vowed to add 25 million new jobs over a decade but economists say this may be unrealistic.

Wages also continued to climb in April, with average hourly earnings rising nearly 0.3 percent for the month to $26.19, which is 2.5 percent higher than the same month last year.

The figures supported the view of a US economy in generally good health but with an increasingly tight labor market, which could begin to fuel inflation worries. 

The unemployment rate has now fallen 0.6 percentage points since the start of the year, with 854,000 fewer unemployed people, while average monthly job creation of 185,000 so far in 2017 is in line with last year’s trend.

The figures also followed signals from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday that the central bank was likely to stick to a planned course of two more interest rate hikes in 2017 despite softer economic data in the first quarter of the year, which it said was “transitory.”

April saw job gains in mining, social assistance, leisure, hospitality and health care. Bars and restaurants also continued to hire, adding 26,000 jobs last month, bringing the 12-month total for the industry to 260,000.

The jobless rate for adult men fell three tenths to four percent but rose a tenth for women to 4.1 percent. DM

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