Employers added more than 200,000 jobs in April for the third straight month, the biggest hiring spree in five years. But the unemployment rate rose to 9% in part because some people resumed looking for work. The Labor Department says the economy added 244,000 jobs last month. Private employers shrugged off high gas prices and created 268,000 jobs—the most since February 2006.
The gains were widespread. Retailers, factories, financial companies, education, health care, and even construction companies all added jobs. Federal, state, and local governments cut jobs. The data suggests businesses are confident in the economy despite weak growth earlier this year. Still, unemployment increased slightly from March's 8.8%, the first increase since November.