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Unemployment hits 49-year low as employers step up hiring

first_imgWASHINGTON — Hiring accelerated and pay rose at a solid pace in April, setting the stage for healthy U.S. economic growth to endure despite fears of a slowdown earlier this year.Employers added 263,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate dropping to a five-decade low of 3.6% from 3.8%, though that drop partly reflected an increase in the number of Americans who stopped looking for work. Average hourly pay rose 3.2% from 12 months earlier, matching March’s year-over-year increase.Friday’s jobs report from the government showed that economic growth remains brisk enough to encourage strong hiring nearly a decade into the economy’s recovery from the Great Recession. The economic expansion, which has fueled 103 straight months of hiring, is set to become the longest in history in July.“All of the recession talk earlier in the spring was much ado about nothing,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC.Trump administration officials insisted that the job market’s gains were a result of the president’s tax cuts and deregulatory policies.“We have entered a very strong and durable prosperity cycle,” said Larry Kudlow, director of the White House’s National Economic Council.President Donald Trump has also pressed the Federal Reserve to cut short-term interest rates because inflation remains low. But most economists said the healthy jobs picture, against the backdrop of low inflation, would reinforce the Fed’s current wait-and-see approach. The Fed raised rates four times last year but has signaled that it doesn’t foresee any rate increases this year.Investors welcomed the April jobs data by sending stock prices broadly higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 197 points, or 0.75%.Jason Guggisberg, vice president of Adecco USA, a staffing firm that finds temporary and permanent hires for business clients, said companies are doing much more to attract workers. They are offering more perks — like free lunches or weekly happy hours — and allowing more flexible work schedules.last_img read more