The solid jobs report suggests the economy is rebounding from a weak winter quarter. Some economists see the Fed hiking interest rates in the fall. Fred Katayama reports.
The economy showing signs of momentum. Employers added 280,000 jobs last month, the second straight month it has topped 200,000. And job gains for the previous two months were revised upward. That suggests the economy is rebounding from a weak winter quarter hurt by bad weather, the West Coast port strike and the strong dollar. The unemployment rate ticked higher to 5.5 percent as more people went looking for jobs. Another positive sign: more money in workers' paychecks. The average hourly wage rose 2.3 percent last month over the year before. That's the largest gain since August. PNC Financial senior economist Gus Faucher: (SOUNDBITE) GUS FAUCHER, SENIOR ECONOMIST, PNC FINANCIAL (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think that's indicative of the fact that the labor market is tightening, and businesses need to increase wages in order to attract workers." (#3 2:30) The employment gains were broadly based, led by professional services, health care, hospitality and retail. Only one sector shed jobs: mining - as oil field companies cut workers amid weak oil prices. Among the few weak aspects of the report: the average workweek didn't lengthen, and the percentage of workers who are employed or are looking for jobs remained weak. Stock futures fell and the dollar rose sharply as investors expressed concern that the Fed could hike rates as early as September. (SOUNDBITE) GUS FAUCHER, SENIOR ECONOMIST, PNC FINANCIAL (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We think the first rate hike will come in September. We actually saw inflation slow a little bit in April, moving further away from the Fed's 2 percent target. They would like to see inflation pick up a little bit so I think June is still too soon." (#5 3:16) The IMF urged the Fed on Thursday to put off raising rates until the first half of 2016. Fed officials next meet June 16-17.