U.S. jobs growth surprisingly robust in April
Fri May 6, 2005 08:35 AM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. employers created a surprisingly large 274,000 new jobs in April and added more workers in each of the two preceding months than first thought, the Labor Department said on Friday in a report that may ease fears about economic growth.
The April jobs total far outstripped Wall Street economists' expectations for 170,000 new jobs. Further underlining the surge, the government said 93,000 more jobs were created in February and March than it previously reported -- 146,000 in March instead of 110,000 and a whopping 300,000 in February instead of 243,000.
The unemployment rate, however, which is calculated from a separate survey, was unchanged at 5.2 percent in April.
Job gains were broad-based with manufacturing the only major sector to shed positions. Construction employment snapped back after a soft March, adding 47,000 to payrolls for the strongest hiring since March 2004
The strong data should come as positive news for financial markets nervous about recent data indicating a slowing in economic activity. The gain in wages may also call into question whether the Federal Reserve will be able to stick to its campaign of smaller, "measured" interest-rate rises to keep inflation in check.
Average hourly earnings in private industry climbed five cents to a record $16 in the month, while the average workweek increased to 33.9 hours from 33.7 in March.
That was the longest workweek since a matching average in September 2002 and is significant since employers generally increase hours worked before they add employees, so more hiring may lie ahead.
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