US Growth Concerns Ease as Unemployment Rate Slips to Four-Year Low

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By Jerin Mathew | May 4, 2013 5:04 PM EST

US non-farm payrolls rise in April

The US has reported strong growth in its job market in April, spurring optimism on the world's largest economy.

The latest non-farm payrolls report by US Department of Labor showed that the economy created 165,000 new jobs in April. Economists expected a figure closer to 145,000.

The private sector added 176,000 people to their payrolls while the public sector shed an additional 11,000 workers.

The department also revised up the new jobs created in February to 332,000 and in March to 138,000.

The unemployment declined by 0.1 percentage point to 7.5%, the lowest level in four years, with the number of unemployed persons remaining at 11.7 million.

Employment increased in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, retail trade and health care, according to the department.

Meanwhile, employment in construction declined and that in mining and logging, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, and government showed little change over the month. Average hours worked per week in the private sector slipped to 34.4 from 34.6 in March, and the number of people forced to work part time increased by 278,000 to 7.92 million.

The figures painting a brighter picture of the economy come amid fears of a slowdown in the second quarter.

"The drop in the unemployment rate alongside a healthy increase in non-farm payrolls will have soothed fears of another spring slowdown," said analysts at Capital Economics.

Nevertheless, some economists say that the higher unemployment rate, which is expected to remain elevated over 2013 and 2014, makes the labour market far from normal.

The present unemployment rate is still a full percentage point above the required level of the Federal Reserve to consider an interest rate increase from the near-zero levels.

The central bank is also expected to maintain its current pace of asset purchases, given the economic conditions.

Separately, the ISM non-manufacturing survey revealed that activity in the services sector decline in April with the headline index declining 1.3 percentage points to 53.1.

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