U.S. unemployment rate reaches lowest point in four years

Nearly four years after the end of the Great Recession, the 7.5 percent unemployment rate for April is still 11/2 times what it was when the economy went sour.

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that 165,000 jobs were created in April, the country remains more than 2.5 million jobs short of the 138 million jobs it had in December 2007. Even discounting the half-million government jobs that have been cut since the start of the recession, the private sector is still down by more than 2 million jobs.

April’s unemployment rate improved from March’s 7.6 percent and Wall Street seized on the jobs report, since it was markedly better than Wednesday’s report by the payroll company ADP that showed anemic job creation.

ADP had estimated that private companies had added only 119,000 jobs in April. But the government figures showed that private industry, in fact, added 176,000 jobs. Revisions to February and March job totals added another 114,000 jobs to the nation’s payrolls, which makes the average job creation for the last three months 212,000.

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