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263,000 NEW JOBS IN APRIL, UNEMPLOYMENT AT 49-YEAR LOW
U.S. job growth surged in April and the unemployment rate dropped to a more than 49-year low of 3.6 percent, pointing to solid economic growth. The Labor Department's closely watched monthly employment report on Friday, May 3, however, showed steady wage gains last month, consistent with moderate inflation. The decline in the unemployment rate was because people left the labor force, suggesting some slack in the jobs market remains. The report was broadly supportive of the Federal Reserve's decision on Wednesday to keep interest rates unchanged and signal little desire to adjust monetary policy anytime soon. Fed Chair Jerome Powell described the economy and job growth as "a bit stronger than we anticipated" and inflation "somewhat weaker." Nonfarm payrolls increased by 263,000 jobs last month, amid gains in hiring nearly across all sectors. Data for February and March was revised up to show 16,000 more jobs created than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast nonfarm payrolls rising by 185,000 jobs last month.