U.S. job growth surged in April and the unemployment rate dropped to a more than 49-year low of 3.6 percent, pointing to solid economic growth.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 263,000 jobs last month, amid gains in hiring nearly across all sectors. Data for February and March was revised up to show 16,000 more jobs created than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast nonfarm payrolls rising by 185,000 jobs last month.
The two-tenths of a percentage point decline in the unemployment rate from 3.8 percent in March was because 490,000 people left the labour force in April. The jobless rate is now below the 3.7 percent that Fed officials project it will be by the end of the year.
The labour force participation rate, or the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one, fell to 62.8 percent in April from 63.0 percent in March. The participation rate hit a more than five-year high of 63.2 percent in January. The low participation rate suggests some slack still remains in the labour market.