Employers added 211,000 to their payrolls in April, and the unemployment rate dipped to its lowest level in almost 17 years. Fred Katayama reports.
A sharp rebound in the jobs market. The U.S. economy added 211,000 to the payrolls in April. That was a lot more than economists had expected. Also surprising Wall Street: the unemployment rate ticked lower to 4.4 percent. That's the lowest in almost 17 years. Payrolls increased nearly across the board. Driving those gains: increased hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector, professional and business services, and healthcare. Even hiring in the struggling retail industry rebounded after two months of declines. The Federal Reserve had said this week that the first quarter's slow economic growth pace was likely "transitory." Economist Steven Blitz says these signs of a tightening labor market reflected in the jobs report raises the likelihood the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in June. SOUNDBITE: STEVEN BLITZ, CHIEF U.S. ECONOMIST, TS LOMBARD, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If there's any concern that somehow the economy is slowing to a complete stall based on some of the numbers we saw in the first quarter, this data report should put that to rest." One caveat: Average wages grew 2.5 percent year-on-year. That was the lowest since last August. That contrasts with a government report last week saying quarterly wages in the private sector had their biggest gain in 10 years.