US jobs growth was bigger than expected in April as businesses added 211,000 posts.
According to the US Department of Labor figures, the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4.4%, compared with 4.5% in March.
The rebound in the jobs market could pave the way for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in June.
The US economy needs to create 75,000 to 100,000 jobs a month to keep pace with growth in the working-age population.
An unemployment rate of anything under 5% is considered to indicate full employment. The rate of 4.4% is the lowest since May 2007.
The rise in employment was driven by the leisure and hospitality sectors, health care and social assistance, financial activities and mining.
The report also showed average hourly earnings rose by 2.5% year-on-year, although this was down slightly on March’s figure.
Recent GDP figures showed the US economy grew at an annual rate of 0.7% in the first three months of this year, the slowest rate since the first quarter of 2014, raising concerns that the economy could be weakening.
Earlier this week, the Fed kept its key interest rate on hold in a range of 0.75% to 1%.
However, central bank also said it viewed “the slowing in growth during the first quarter as likely to be transitory” and still expected economic activity to “expand at a moderate pace”.
According to US Labor Department figures, the US economy added 175,000 new jobs in February, but the unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.7%.
The jobs figures were better than many had been expecting and marked a rebound from two weak months.
It had been thought the figures would be affected by recent harsh weather, which had hit much of the country.
But the unemployment rate, based on different statistics, went up slightly from January’s 6.6% to 6.7%.
February’s jobs figure – known as non-farm payrolls and based on a survey of employers – compares with the 129,000 new jobs created in January.
Analysts had been expecting a rise of about 150,000 last month.
A large chunk of the gains came from financial and other services, which were responsible for an extra 79,000 jobs.
February 2014 jobs figures were better than many had been expecting and marked a rebound from two weak months
Construction companies, many of which had been affected by the bad weather, added 15,000 jobs.
But the information sector lost 16,000 jobs, most of them in film and sound recording.
Average hourly earnings in the private sector rose by 3.7%, or about nine cents, to $24.31, the figures show. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.2%.
The unemployment rate is calculated from a different survey, of households, and rose slightly from its lowest level since October 2008. It leaves the total number of unemployed relatively unchanged at 10.5 million.
However, the same survey shows the number of long-term unemployed (defined as those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 203,000 in February to 3.8 million.
Cold and snowy weather, which has disrupted much of the country, was one of the reasons 601,000 people with jobs stayed at home last month, according to the survey.
The US Federal Reserve has said the severe winter was to blame for recent weaknesses in jobs numbers, retail sales and housebuilding.
Analysts see the latest figures as further evidence the apparent slowdown was only a blip.
The stronger-than-expected figures are likely to mean the Federal Reserve will continue to withdraw extra support from the economy – a process known as tapering.
The Fed had been spending $85 billion a month buying bonds, but has now reduced that to $65 billion and plans to cut the program by $10 billion each month.
The US Labor Department has announced that the country’s economy added 162,000 new jobs in July.
The figure – which measures the number of jobs outside the US farming sector – was below economists’ expectations of more than 180,000 and the government also cut its previous estimates for hiring in May and June.
Nonetheless, the new jobs helped the unemployment rate to fall to 7.4%.
That was down from 7.6% and is the lowest jobless rate in four years.
The news adds to the picture of a slowly growing US economy and may make its central bank more likely to end its monetary stimulus programme.
The Federal Reserve is currently buying $85 billion a month in bonds which helps to keep borrowing costs low.
However, there is much speculation as to when the Fed will start to rein in this stimulus programme.
US economy added 162,000 new jobs in July
Its chairman, Ben Bernanke, has said that it might start cutting down the rate of bond buying by the end of the year and stop altogether by the middle of 2014, depending on the strength of the economy.
Earlier this week, figures showed that the US economy grew at a faster-than-expected annualized pace of 1.7% in the second quarter of the year.
That was up from the growth rate for the first three months of 2013, which was revised lower to 1.1% from 1.8%.
Gordon Charlop, of Rosenblatt Securities said the figures were moderately encouraging: “The idea that the unemployment dropped at all, went below 7.6%, is showing that the trend is going the right way.
“We’re sort of grinding along here. We’re not surging. I don’t think there’s anything here that will cause the Fed to do anything significant.”
Revisions to previous months’ data saw May’s jobs increase downgraded to 176,000, below the 195,000 previously estimated, while June’s increase was lowered to 188,000, from the 195,000 originally reported.
Paul Ashworth, chief economist at Capital Economics, said despite that, the employment picture was much brighter than last year: “While July itself was a bit disappointing, the Fed will be looking at the cumulative improvement.
“On that score, the unemployment rate has fallen from 8.1% last August, to 7.4% this July, which is a significant improvement.”
Other figures released on Friday confirmed the picture of moderate economic growth.
US consumer spending and inflation both rose in June, with the US Commerce Department saying spending was 0.5% higher and annual inflation running at 1.3% – although that is still well below the US target of 2%.
According to official figures, the US economy added a net 195,000 new jobs in June.
The figure was well above economists’ expectations of 165,000. Revisions to data for April and May added a further 70,000 jobs to previous estimates.
The jobless rate remained steady at 7.6% of the workforce, according to the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The dollar and US bond yields jumped as markets expectations rose that interest rates will start rising in a year.
The euro fell three quarters of a cent against the dollar to $1.282, while gold fell almost 3% to $1,214.36 an ounce.
The yield on 10-year Treasury bonds rose from 2.5% to 2.68% to their highest level in almost two years.
Treasury bonds – the US government’s cost of borrowing – provide an indication of when markets expect the US Federal Reserve to begin raising interest rates, with many analysts now predicting that a move could come as soon as the end of 2014.
The news was initially welcomed on Wall Street, where the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all opened higher.
The US economy added a net 195,000 new jobs in June
They turned negative mid-morning but regained the higher ground by afternoon trading.
“US employment data came out on the strong side of expectations,” wrote Brown, Brothers, & Harriman in a note to clients.
“The jobs data will strengthen expectations of tapering Fed asset purchases.”
Economists paid close attention to the number this month due to concerns that the US Federal Reserve might begin to wind down – or “taper” – its policy of propping up the US economy by buying up debts with newly-created money.
Comments by chairman Ben Bernanke in June that indicated that positive economic data in the coming months might lead to tapering of the Fed’s bond buying had roiled markets.
If the US economy continues to add jobs at this pace, the unemployment rate should fall from its current 7.6% to 6.5% by the end of 2014. This is the number the Fed has said the US jobs market must reach before it will end its programme of suppressing rates.
Leisure and hospitality jobs saw the biggest gains in June, as employers hired workers for the summer season.
The data eased fears that the “sequester” – a package of austerity measures that hit the economy in January – would have a negative impact on the jobs market.
The government shed 7,000 jobs in June, slightly less than expected.
Manufacturing, once a bright spot of the recovery, has continued its recent trend of job losses.
This has prompted some to question President Barack Obama’s commitment to the manufacturing sector.
“The president laid out a goal of creating a million new manufacturing jobs in his second term. That effort is off to a terrible start,” said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, an industry trade group.
The broader rate of unemployment – which includes those who would like a full-time job but can only find part-time work, as well as those who have given up looking for a job – increased slightly in June to 14.3%.
While the number of long-term unemployed workers has declined by more than one million over the past year, more than 4.3 million Americans have still been out of work for more than half a year, making up more than a third of the overall unemployed population.
With so many still out of work, pressure on wages has been modest, with hourly earnings rising by 0.2% this June, bringing the total rise for the year to 2.2%.
That is slightly ahead of the US inflation rate, with consumer prices having risen by just 1.4% in June from a year earlier.
The slow rate of wage growth and the large supply of willing workers mean that, while the American recovery continues to pick up steam, pressure on prices continues to be modest.
Eurozone unemployment rate rose to a new record high in January, official figures show.
The jobless rate in the 17 countries that use the euro rose to 11.9% in January from 11.8% in December, the statistics agency Eurostat said.
The highest rate was 27% in Greece, although the most recent figure there was from November, while the lowest rate was 4.9% in Austria.
Eurostat also said eurozone inflation had fallen to 1.8% in February.
The inflation figure was the lowest for two years, putting it in line with the European Central Bank’s (ECB) inflation target of below, but close to 2%.
The jobless rate in the 17 countries that use the euro rose to 11.9 percent in January 2013 from 11.8 percent in December 2012
Analysts said that the high unemployment and low figure for inflation would make it more likely that the ECB would cut its interest rates later in the year from the current rate of 0.75%.
“All the data is supporting a rate cut, which we see in the second quarter,” said Sarah Hewin from Standard Chartered.
“They could move as early as next week, but there’s an element of the ECB wanting to keep its powder dry as we enter an uncertain political situation with Italy and the Cypriot debt question has to be resolved.”
The highest unemployment rates among countries that have reported their January figures were 26.2% in Spain and 17.6% in Portugal.
Unemployment in the 27 countries that make up the European Union rose to 10.8% in January from 10.7% the previous month.
Official figures from the Labor Department show the US economy added 171,000 new jobs in October, which was much more than had been expected.
However, the official figures showed that the unemployment rate still rose to 7.9%, having fallen to 7.8% in September, as more workers resumed the search for jobs.
Only people who are currently looking for a job count as unemployed.
Unemployment is one of the key issues ahead of Tuesday’s presidential election.
The figures were the last major set of economic data scheduled before the election and the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, has made the state of the jobs market one of the central planks of his campaign.
“Today’s increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill,” Mitt Romney said.
“The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office, and there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work.”
The number of jobs created in the previous two months was revised upwards, with an extra 34,000 jobs added in September and 50,000 added in August.
Despite the new jobs, Barack Obama will still go to the polls with the highest rate of unemployment of any president seeking re-election since Franklin D. Roosevelt.
But the rise in the rate of unemployment may be seen as a sign of confidence in the economy, because it was caused by people who had given up looking for work returning to the job market, analysts say.
The total workforce, which is the number of people either working or looking for jobs, rose 578,000 in October.
“While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the US economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” said Alan Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in a statement from the White House.
“It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”
The Labor Department said in its release that Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast of the US on 29 October, had had “no discernible effect” on the employment data.
The number of involuntary part-time workers, who would prefer to be working full-time, fell 269,000 to 8.3 million, having risen by 582,000 in September.
Kathy Jones from Charles Schwab said they were good numbers, but warned that: “We’re way short of where we need to be to bring down the unemployment rate to where the Federal Reserve would like to see, closer to 6% than 8%.”
“We would need to see twice as many jobs as we’re seeing, but the direction has improved.”
The average number of jobs added per month so far in 2012 has been 157,000, which is slightly ahead of the average of 153,000 in 2011.
The category adding the most jobs in October was professional and business services, followed by healthcare and retailing.
There was also a small increase in employment in the construction sector, which has been helped by a pick-up in house building.
The average working week was 34.4 hours for the fourth month in a row, while the average hourly wage was down one cent at $23.58.
Despite there being signs of momentum in the jobs market, there is great concern in the US about what 2013 will bring.
Whoever wins the presidential election will have to reach a budget agreement with legislators by the end of the year, to prevent $600 billion of tax increases and spending cuts kicking in automatically in 2013.
The measures, known as the fiscal cliff, could take the US back into recession.
There is also some uncertainty about the coming months as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
Many businesses will have their work interrupted by effects of the storms. On the other hand, reconstruction on the East Coast is likely to increase employment in the construction sector.
In New York, the Dow Jones was up 1% in early trading.
Latest official figures show that unemployment in Greece hit a record 25.1% in July, with the level among young people reaching 54.2%.
Greece’s statistical authority said 1.26 million Greeks were jobless in July, with more than 1,000 jobs lost every day over the past year.
With austerity cuts continuing and Greece likely to enter another year of recession, the level may rise further.
The worst-affected 15-24 age group, however, includes those in education.
According to Greece’s statistics agency the total unemployment rate rose from 24.8% in June. In July 2008, a year before Greece’s financial crisis broke, there were about 364,000 registered unemployed.
“This is a very dramatic result of the recession,” said Angelos Tsakanikas, head of research at Greece’s IOBE economic research foundation. He did not expect employment to pick up for at least a year.
The Greek economy is surviving on international bailouts, but Athens has been forced to impose tough austerity measures in return for the money.
Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras will hold talks on Thursday evening with representatives of the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank about signing off the release of more funds.
There was some evidence on Thursday that the government’s strategy is working on one front, at least. Finance Ministry figures showed that the deficit-cutting effort is on track despite lower-than-anticipated revenues.
The ministry figures showed that the January-September deficit was 12.64 billion euros, lower than the 13.5 billion-euro target.
The US unemployment rate fell in September to its lowest rate since January 2009, figures from the Department of Labor have shown, surprising analysts who had been expecting a small rise.
September’s rate came in at 7.8%, down from 8.1% in August.
The latest data also showed that the US economy added a further 114,000 jobs in September, slightly more than markets had expected.
The US jobs market is a key issue in the presidential election race.
When the unemployment rate was last this low, President Barack Obama was about to take office.
However, economist Sean Incremona of New York-based company 4Cast said the latest data showed that the US economy remained subdued.
“Generally, we are still seeing a mixed underlying picture that is neither too impressive nor terrible,” he said.
Fellow economist, Omer Esiner, of Rhode Island-based Commonwealth Foreign Exchange, was more upbeat.
“The headline of the day is clearly the drop in the unemployment rate, which was a big surprise,” he said.
“There is something in these numbers for everyone. The rise in the participation rate shows somewhat of a real improvement in the labour market.”
The latest official data showed that the construction sector added 5,000 jobs last month, while the number of people working in government jobs rose by 10,000.
However, the biggest gain was record in the healthcare sector, which added 44,000 jobs in September.
The Labor Department also used the release of the September data to revise up how many new jobs were created in both July and August. It said that 86,000 more jobs than first calculated were added across the two months.
Separate official figures released at the end of last month revised down by how much the US economy had grown between April and June.
Gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter grew at an annualized rate of 1.3%, down from the previous estimate of 1.7%.