Economy Adds 165,000 Jobs

April was a better month for jobs than March, according to recent statistics from the Labor Department.

Companies added a better-than-expected 165,000 jobs in April, reviving optimism that the economy is struggling out of its rut.

The unemployment rate fell to 7.5% from 7.6%, the lowest since December 2008.

Payroll gains for February and March were revised up by a total 114,000. February’s gains were revised to 332,000 from 268,000 and March’s to 138,000 from 88,000. Monthly job growth has averaged 196,000 so far this year, vs. 183,000 for all of 2012.

Professional and business services added 73,000 jobs in April and has added 587,000 jobs over the past year. In April, employment rose in temporary help services (+31,000), professional and technical services (+23,000), and management of companies (+7,000).

Employment in food services and drinking places rose by 38,000 over the month. Job growth in the food services industry averaged 25,000 per month over the prior 12 months.

Retail trade employment increased by 29,000 in April. The industry added an average of 21,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months. In April, job growth occurred in general merchandise stores (+15,000) and in health and personal care stores (+5,000).

Health care added 19,000 jobs in April. Within the industry, employment rose in ambulatory health care services (+14,000). Over the prior 12 months, job growth in health care averaged 24,000 per month. In April, employment also continued its upward trend in social assistance (+7,000).

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