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Financial News: U.S. Unemployment Rate Unexpectedly Drops To Nearly 50-Yea

U.S. Unemployment Rate Unexpectedly Drops To Nearly 50-Year Low

05/03/2019 - 09:18:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Employment in the U.S. jumped by much more than expected in the month of April, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Friday, with the unemployment rate dropping to its lowest level in nearly fifty years.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment surged up by 263,000 jobs in April following a downwardly revised increase of 189,000 jobs in March.

Economists had expected employment to climb by 185,000 jobs compared to the addition of 196,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The stronger than expected job growth partly reflected notable job gains in professional and business services, construction, health care, and social assistance.

The report also said the unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent in April from 3.8 percent in March, while economists had expected the rate to remain unchanged.

With the unexpected decrease, the unemployment rate slid to its lowest level since hitting 3.5 percent in December of 1969.

The drop in the unemployment rate was largely due to a significant contraction in the labor force, however, with the labor force shrinking by 490,000 people compared to the 103,000-person drop in the household survey measure of employment.

The Labor Department also said the average workweek for all employees on private non-farm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in April.

"The drop back in hours worked and the continued weakness in the household survey measure of employment suggests that the labor market is not quite as strong as that decent headline gain implies," said Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

He added, "We still expect a slowdown in economic growth over the rest of the year to drag payroll employment growth lower."

Meanwhile, the report said average hourly employee earnings rose by $0.06 to $27.77 in April, leaving the annual rate of growth unchanged from the previous month at 3.2 percent.

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