Employers added a better-than-expected 165,000 jobs in April,, easing concerns that payroll growth may be slipping into a sustained midyear slump.
The unemployment rate fell to 7.5% from 7.6%, the Labor Department said Friday. That’s the lowest since December 2008. It was more than enough to fire up the stock market. The Dow Jones industrial average topped 15,000 for the first time Friday morning, minutes after the Standard & Poor’s 500 index sailed past an all-time high of 1,600.
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Payroll gains for February and March were revised up by a total 114,000. February’s gains were revised to 332,000 from 268,000 and March’s to 138,000 from 88,000. Monthly job growth has averaged 196,000 so far this year, vs. 183,000 for all of 2012.
April’s report exceeded economists’ median forecast of 148,000 job gains for last month.