Exceeding economists predictions, the Department of Labor announced this morning that 244,000 jobs were added to the economy in April. That's a boost from the 221,000 that were added in March and a continued trend that can be attributed to private employers adding aggressively to payrolls. Federal, state, and local governments cut 24,000 jobs across the country last month as they struggled to balance shrinking budgets. According to the Times, a gain of something like 185,000 jobs was expected by economists. So, good news! Except the official rate of unemployment is now 9 percent, up from 8.8 percent last month. That sounds bad, but it's actually sort of heartening — it means more people are officially looking for work. Still, yesterdays news about last week's spike in initial jobless claims does not bode well for next month's numbers. In part because of spiraling gas prices and the tsunami in Japan, certain key American industries are in the midst of another setback.
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