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US jobless rate at four-year low

WASHINGTON — Employment rose more than expected in April, pushing the unemployment rate to a four-year low of 7.5 per cent, which could help ease concerns of a sharp slowdown in the economy.

Nonfarm payrolls rose 165,000 last month, the Labour Department said on Friday. March’s payrolls were raised to 138,000, 50,000 more jobs than previously reported, and February’s job count was revised up to 332,000, the largest since May 2010.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected April payrolls to rise 145,000 and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 7.6 per cent. The drop in the unemployment rate last month reflected an increase in employment, rather than people leaving the workforce.

Still, details of the report remained consistent with a slowdown in economic activity. Construction employment fell for the first time since May, while manufacturing payrolls were flat. The average workweek pulled off a nine-month high, but average hourly earnings rose four cents. (Reuters)

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