US unemployment hit a four-year low in April as the US job market threw off fears of a spring freeze and added 165,000 new jobs, the Labor Department said Friday.
Construction and government were the two sectors of the economy that failed to report job growth with professional and business services adding 73,000 new jobs. Retailers added 29,000 and health care 19,000.
On Friday the bureau of labor statistics revised the last three months figures drastically. It was believed that the US had only added 88,000 jobs last month but this figure was revised to 138,000. February’s job growth was revised up to 332,000, after being reported at 268,000.
The unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent in April, its lowest rate since December 2008 and stock market futures soared following the release of these non-farm numbers. Earlier this week the Federal Reserve gave its latest update on the economy and did not shy from blaming government policy for the slow pace of the recovery.
“The spring slowdown may not be as pronounced as feared,” said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.
“It is good news for the dollar especially in light of the Fed’s statement this week which put even more focus on upcoming U.S. economic numbers.”
In addition to the rise in stock futures, the dollar soared against the yen following the report.
The Labor Department’s headquarters shut down the building for most employees due to a fire last night. However, members of the news media were allowed into the building for the release of the jobs report.
The numbers for the month generate more weight as all gains came from the private sector given government cutbacks and shutdowns of various departments.
Additional details from the report include:
- People unemployed more than half a year accounted for 37.4 percent of the jobless, down 2.2 percentage points from March.
- The employment-to-population ratio was 58.6 percent, showing little movement over the past year.
- Health care added 19,000, construction, manufacturing, and government were little changed, professional and business services added 73,000, and retail lost 24,000.
- Average hourly earnings for employees on non-farm payrolls rose 4 cents to $23.87.
- The average workweek for those employees declined to 34.4 hours, down 0.2 hour from March.