WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — The U.S. government had bittersweet news on Friday for the millions of Americans without a job: more employers are hiring, but even more people are still looking for work.
The Labor Department reported Friday that the economy added 244,000 jobs last month as private employers shrugged off high gas prices and created 268,000 jobs — the most since February 2006.
But as U.S. employers added more than 200,000 jobs in April for the third straight month — the biggest hiring spree in five years — the unemployment rate ticked up to 9 percent.
CBS News business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis told KNX 1070 the report shows the U.S. job market is picking up momentum despite the mixed returns.
While that number is down from its peak of 10.1 percent in late 2009, April’s unemployment rate reflects only those Americans who are still actively looking for work.
The gains were widespread, with retailers, factories, financial companies, education and health care and even construction companies all added jobs, while federal, state and local governments cut jobs.
Jill Schlessinger of CBS MoneyWatch said despite the good news, 13.7 million people are still looking for work.
The latest employment figures suggest businesses are confident in the economy despite weak growth earlier this year. The government said job gains in March and February were even stronger than first reported.
Still, unemployment edged up from the 8.8 percent in March, the first increase since November.
The government uses a separate survey to calculate the unemployment rate, and sometimes those surveys diverge from month to month.
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