US economy continues to recover and add jobs

Hiring in the US remained strong in April despite signs that businesses were still struggling to find workers.

 

Employers added 428,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%, the Labor Department said.

 

The gains were bigger than expected, marking the 12th month of expansion.

 

The growth is likely to bolster views at the US central bank that the economy is well positioned as it starts to raise rates to try to curb inflation.

 

“It keeps them on track,” said Kathy Bostjancic, chief US economist at Oxford Economics.

 

The US economy has recovered more quickly than many expected, after shutdowns in the early months of the pandemic wiped out millions of jobs,

 

Across the economy, businesses have struggled to find workers to meet demand, pushing them to raise wages at the fastest pace in years. Average hourly pay was up 5.5% year-on-year in April.

 

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell this week cited America’s tight labour market – in which openings outnumber available workers by nearly two to one – as a sign there was room to cool demand, without inducing a sharp economic slowdown.

 

On Wednesday, the US central bank announced its biggest interest rate increase in more than two decades, lifting its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point, to a range of 0.75% to 1%.

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