The United States had another giant month of job creation in April, affirming the strength of the world’s largest economy as President Donald Trump prepares to fend off challengers in next year’s election.
Government data showed continued vigor in the vast services sector, with unemployment falling to a level not seen since 1969, assisting allay fears of a slowdown — although the labor force shrank.
As the second quarter started, employers scooped up workers in construction, health care, computer systems design, administrative support, and other service industries, adding a total of 263,000 net new positions for the month, the data showed.
That was well above the returns economists expected, and worker pay continued to climb, although at a slower pace, according to the closely-watched report from the Labor Department.
The unemployment rate fell two tenths to 3.6 percent but the drop was in part because the pool of workers shrank and fewer people were looking for jobs, pulling them out of the labor force.
The jobless rate for Hispanics, and that for a broad measure of the labor force including discouraged workers, both dropped to their lowest levels on record.
“This economy is roaring,” Vice President Mike Pence told CNBC shortly after the numbers’ release, attributing the performance squarely to Trump’s economic agenda of tax cuts and slashed regulation.
Average hourly pay also rose by 3.2 percent over April of last year, its ninth consecutive month with annual growth above three percent, again outstripping inflation.
Compared to March, however, the increase in pay was only 0.2 percent, shy of forecasts, but economists said this may have been due to distortions from the Easter holiday.