Employers stepped up job creation in April, expanding payrolls by 290,000, the most in four years, the AP reports. The jobless rate also rose, to 9.9%, as people resumed their searches for work. The hiring of 66,000 temporary government workers to conduct the census helped overall payroll growth last month. Private employers added a surprisingly strong 231,000 positions in April, also the most since March 2006, the Labor Dept. reported today.
Job gains in April were widespread, with manufacturers, construction companies, retailers, professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and government all showing gains. Among the weak spots: transportation and warehousing and information companies, which cut jobs last month. Many economists think it will take until at least the middle of the decade to lower the unemployment rate to a more normal 5.5% to 6%.