US employment jumps 244,000 in April

unemployment figures

US employment rose in April for the seventh month in a row, official figures have shown, but the overall unemployment rate has also risen.

According to the US Labor Department, the number of new jobs created in April rose by 244,000, more than expected.

However, the unemployment rate rose too, to 9%, from 8.8%. The employment and unemployment figures are collected using different methods.

The number of US citizens out of work is 13.7 million.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the jobs data.

"There will undoubtedly be more challenges ahead."

"The fact is, we are still making progress. That proves how resilient the American economy is, how resilient the American worker is," Mr Obama said in a visit to a factory in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Although the increase in the number of people in work was better than had been expected, it is a fraction of the 8 million US workers who lost their jobs in the downturn following the 2008 financial crisis.

Higher commodity and food prices curbed US economic growth in the first quarter.

But although inflation is higher than the authorities would like, Friday's employment data showed little in the way of pressure from wage inflation. Average hourly earnings rose just 3 cents, or 0.1%, to $22.95.

'Sustainable growth'

A wide range of sectors saw jobs growth. Employment in retail trade rose by 57,000, while professional and business services added 51,000 jobs.

Employment in healthcare increased by 37,000, leisure and hospitality rose by 46,000, and manufacturing by 29,000.

However, the number of public sector jobs fell by 24,000.

"It looks like a good report if you don't look at unemployment. Job creation is good. We're getting close to the point where we are seeing sustainable job growth," said Gary Thayer, from Wells Fargo Advisors.

"The stock market likes the numbers, but the report also moves us maybe a step closer to the Fed pulling back on stimulus.

"That doesn't mean a rate hike right away. We might see the Fed let its balance sheet contract a bit in the second half of the year, but we probably won't see an actual rate hike until early 2012."

Sung won Sohn, an economist at California State University said: "Economic momentum has not been lost."

"Surprisingly, the rising energy prices have not made a significant dent in businesses' willingness to hire, indicating that their optimism on the economy has not faded," he added.

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