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United States unemployment hits 4.4%, lowest in a decade

11 May 2017

"The unemployment rate is even lower than expected".

The U.S. central bank cited the slow-down in its decision Wednesday to leave its influential interest rate unchanged.

However, that helped cause a tumble during March that offset gains that became amplified due to snowstorms across the Northeast and Midwest that left growth in employment during March at approximately 50% of the earlier rates.

According to data released by the Labour Department on Friday, the total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 211,000 in April, beyond market expectation of 185,000.

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Average hourly wage growth dropped to 2.5% in April from 2.6% the previous month. While the BLS initially reported a paltry gain of 98,000 jobs, the figure has now been revised downward to 79,000.

The employment-to-population ratio rose one-tenth of percentage point to a fresh eight-year high of 60.2 per cent. "I'm frankly surprised that this late into an expansion the economy is still adding jobs well above the steady-state pace", Jason Furman, chief economic adviser during the Obama administration, told The New York Times.

The employment numbers are a key component in the calculus used by the US Federal Reserve in its interest rate decisions. The largest measure of underemployment - known as the "U-6 rate - hit 8.6%".

The report adds to evidence that economic growth is rebounding in the current April-June quarter, with some economists forecasting that it could top a 3 percent annual rate, compared with the first quarter's 0.7 percent rate.

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Growth and employment prospects in the United States have been much better than in Europe, the other major advanced economic bloc.

The data point to a stronger growth by the US economy in the second quarter after a slow first quarter, the Los Angeles Times said Friday.

A closer look at the data showed a loss of 50,500 positions in the more-desirable private-sector category, while the public sector added 35,200 jobs.

Mining added 8,800 jobs in April, with 6,700 of them coming from support activities.

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April job gains were fairly broad based with strong hiring in professional and business services, health care and leisure and hospitality.

United States unemployment hits 4.4%, lowest in a decade