The economy added 244,000 jobs in April, significantly more than predicted, indicating that the recovery still has legs despite disappointing projections from the Federal Reserve last month.
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The private sector led the charged with an impressive 268,000 new jobs added, including 57,000 new retail positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to last month's growth, the previous two month's numbers were revised upwards to include 46,000 more jobs. In another positive sign, the number of long-term unemployed -- those who have not held a job for 27 weeks or more -- declined by 283,000.
While economists and leaders from both political parties hailed the report as a positive sign, the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 9.0% from 8.8% in March. The downward turn did not come from higher participation in the job market by previously discouraged workers, writes the New York Times' David Leonhardt, but from revisions to slightly inflated numbers in previous jobs reports.