May 4 - U.S. employers cut back on hiring for a second straight month and the unemployment rate fell as the unemployed stop looking for work. Conway G. Gittens reports.
U.S. hiring slowed for a second month in a row, heightening fears an economic pick-up at the start of the year is fizzling. U.S. employers added just 115,000 workers in April, according to the Labor Department; that's less than the 170,000 Wall Street was expecting, and down from 120,000 in March. At the same time, the unemployment rate dropped to a three-year low of 8.1 percent, but that's because discouraged Americans stopped looking for work. Some economists are blaming the weather for distorting the labor market, saying the mild winter pulled hiring forward, making the spring months look weaker than normal. Conway Gittens, Reuters