Business, Economics and Jobs

US adds 244,000 jobs in April


People looking for jobs wait in line to speak with potential employers at the Brooklyn Job Fair on April 13, 2011 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Thousands attended the event which featured nearly 80 employers in a variety of professions.


Spencer Platt

The latest check-up on the world's largest economy is in:

The U.S. added 244,000 jobs in April, the U.S. Labor Department has reported. The U.S. unemployment rate, meanwhile, ticked up to 9 percent.

The jobs performance was stronger than most analysts were expecting. And the big gains came from private companies — not temporary government jobs like census workers that had been supporting the market in previous months.

Revised figures also show that the U.S. economy added an additional 46,000 jobs the past two months

All of this adds up to what appears to be a bit of momentum for jobs in the U.S., a key figure for the economy as consumers tend to spend more money when they have paychecks flowing in. And, of course, consumer spending is what drives economic growth.

"The recovery has progressed into the self-propelling stage, where it’s less vulnerable to short-term swings in sentiment,” Jim O’Sullivan, chief economist at MF Global told Bloomberg.

But the high number of Americans still without jobs — some 13.7 million people — is a continued risk to recovery in the U.S.

“Without acceleration in job growth, the economy is unlikely to achieve the sustainable growth trajectory that is typical of an economy that is supposedly in its second year of recovery and technically has transitioned into expansion,” Steven Ricchiuto, the chief economist for Mizuho Securities USA said in the New York Times.

Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had this to say about the U.S. jobs picture:

“The labor market is improving gradually,” Bernanke said to reporters during his first press conference. “We would like to make sure that that is sustainable. The longer it goes on, the more confident we are.”