Unemployment Rate Back to 9%

American companies are on a hiring spree. Businesses delivered a jolt of strength to the economy by creating 268,000 jobs in April, the biggest monthly total in more than five years. The gains were solid across an array of industries, even beleaguered construction.

It was the third month in a row of at least 200,000 new jobs. The private sector has added jobs for 14 consecutive months. Even a slight rise in the unemployment rate to 9 percent appears to be a quirk.

The job growth was better than economists expected and perhaps the strongest sign yet that what they call a "virtuous cycle" has taken hold: When people spend more, corporate earnings rise, leading to more hiring and then more spending.

Companies have added more than 200,000 jobs for three months in a row.

"This was really a good report because ultimately it is all about jobs," said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors. "More and more, it is looking as if the recovery is on track despite the headwinds it is facing."

Those include higher prices for crude oil and gas. But energy prices fell sharply earlier this week, apparently reflecting lower consumption in the United States and a stronger dollar. Analysts think the price of gas may have peaked for the summer at about $4 a gallon.

The rise in the unemployment rate, to 9 percent in April from 8.8 percent the month, was the first increase since November. But it appeared to be because of a temporary disparity in two surveys the government uses to track jobs.

Wall Street was pleased by Friday's report from the Labor Department. The Dow Jones industrials rose more than 150 points shortly after the opening bell. The Dow closed up 55 points, or 0.4 percent.

Businesses added jobs in April across the economy. Retailers, factories, financial companies, education, health care and the construction industry all reported gains.

And the government said the job gains it reported for March and February turned out to be even stronger than previously thought. Private employers have now added jobs for 14 straight months.

Economists say companies are paying for new hires by starting to spend some of the almost $2 trillion in cash that businesses stockpiled after the recession ended in June 2009. Analysts have said the use of corporate cash reserves is the most effective way to strengthen the job market.

Once again, governments at the federal, state and local levels all cut jobs - 24,000 in April. Counting those cuts, the economy as a whole added 244,000 jobs last month. The private-sector job gains were the most since February 2006.

"It is a sigh of relief: Economic momentum has not been lost," said Sung Won Sohn, economist at California State University. He said he was surprised that energy prices hadn't scared businesses away from hiring more.

President Barack Obama, refocusing on the economy after a week in which the killing of Osama bin Laden had dominated his agenda, said the figures were a sign that "we are regaining our footing."

"We've made this progress at a time when our economy's been facing some serious headwinds," the president told workers at a transmission plant in Indiana. He cited high gas prices and the earthquake in Japan.

"There will undoubtedly be some more challenges ahead, but the fact is that we are still making progress," he said. "And that proves how resilient the American economy is, and how resilient the American worker is, and that we can take a hit and we can keep on going forward."

Average hourly earnings rose to $22.95 in April, up 2 cents from March. Pay gains are trailing inflation. Over the past year, wages have grown 1.9 percent, while inflation has come in at 2.7 percent.

There was no evidence that the disaster in Japan, which disrupted supplies of some car parts, led the U.S. auto industry to cut jobs last month. All three Detroit car companies have been hiring at factories and in engineering departments.

Among the companies using more of their cash to hire is Amazon.com. It's also spending more on new facilities, including plans to add 10 distribution centers this year. A warehouse in Washington state will create several hundred jobs, and a customer service center in West Virginia will add 200 jobs.

"We're just seeing tremendous growth, and because of that we're having to invest in a lot of capacity," Thomas Szkutak, Amazon's chief financial officer, said last week.

Even with last month's burst of hiring, 13.7 million people remained unemployed in April. That's double the number when the recession began in December 2007.

Including part-time workers who would rather be working full-time and people who have given up looking altogether, roughly 25 million are "underemployed." They represent 15.9 percent of the work force, the highest proportion since February.

The two surveys the government uses to gauge the job market can diverge sharply from time to time. That appeared to account for the increase in the jobless rate in April. The surveys tend to even out. To calculate the number of jobs that companies have added or subtracted each month, the government surveys about 140,000 businesses and government agencies. That survey covers about a third of all workers in the United States. For the unemployment rate, it calls about 60,000 households and asks people if they're working or looking for a job. This includes the self-employed, farm workers and domestic help - people not counted in the first survey. In April, the number of farm workers who said they had a job fell sharply. Economists suspect that may have been because of bad weather that delayed planting. It's typical in economic recoveries for the unemployment rate to bounce around sometimes rather than falling month after month. In fact, economists think the rate will probably rise further this summer because more people start looking for work and are counted as unemployed. By the end of the year, though, economists say the rate should be back under 9 percent. Most analysts say the factors that held back overall economic growth at the start of the year, including higher gas prices and lower consumer spending, were probably temporary. They predict the economy, which has been expanding for almost two years now, will grow ever faster for the rest of the year. Retailers reported strong April sales, partly because Easter fell later than usual but also because people appear to be more willing to spend. Auto companies say sales are brisk. And factories have expanded production this year at the fastest pace in a quarter-century. Nigel Gault, an economist at IHS Global Insight, cautioned that hiring could slow in the coming months, as suggested by a big increase in first-time applications for unemployment benefits over the past month. But the job gains of the past three months, which average 233,000 for the government and private sector combined, show "good momentum that should allow the economy to absorb the twin shocks from the Middle East and Japan without too much damage," Gault said.

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Major Fraud Alert

The entire Federal Banking System under FirstGov has been "Consumed" and "Levied" by way of a Maryland State Circuit/District Court Ruled “Appropriation and Garnishment” of all Future Earnings prior to and after 2004 against Bank Of America by way of the F.D.I.C. Regulations Prohibiting failing Banks from Merging with other failing Banks between the Dates of 08/04/08 and 10/09/09.

Bank of America violated the 21st Century Act: Final Amendments to Regulation CC Section: http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/press/bcreg/2004/20040726/attachment.pdf

seeking reimbursement of Credit, Loan, and Finance Balances as a "Bank Entity" and not a "Nonbank Consumer" as specified on Pages 85 and 86.

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Businesses owned by the States (Public Corporations) are being sold Stock Shares by Corporations also under the Federal Banking System in this Worldwide "Ponzi Scheme". The World Fortune Company Merrick Inc. Sweden is dissolving Millions and Billions of Dollars from "All Levels of Government"in the U.S. of Financing based upon Years of "negligent inaction" involving this case.

The Federal Government has already been forced to discontinue supplying the Financing States use to pay their debts, Persons in Government Offices may want to begin to take their jobs more seriously, these are different times from 10 Years ago and you will not be accepted civil servants here just because you say you are here to do the right thing.

May 28 2011 at 11:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Not Again

I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for $98.37 and my girlfriend snagged an awesome $1299 MacBook Air for only $137.93, its being delivered tomorrow. I would be a fool to keep paying high retail prices at places like Walmart or BestBuy, when I even sold a 37" HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for. I use two sites, both are good, SnagBids.com
and BidsGo.com

May 17 2011 at 10:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you want a less restrictive site promoting political debate and commentary than what you are finding here, go to Burnandrotinhell.com and click on the politics section. They foster freedom of speech and you can post a burn, comment, and private message.

May 11 2011 at 9:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If anything, the elimination of extended unemployment benefits actually decreases the unemployment rate, just as the previous extension of unemployment benefits increased the unemployment rate. Of course, neither the collection of nor the eligibility for unemployment benefits is a direct input into the calculation of the unemployment rate. But that "incentives matter" is the most basic of economic principles. And unemployment benefits provide a reward for unemployment. So the greater is the magnitude of unemployment benefits, the greater is unemployment (all other factors being equal). Yet the intellectually defenseless keep arguing the oppopsite, absent any evidence to the contrary, of course.

May 07 2011 at 10:47 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

The litany of lies from the major media is due to the fact that the huge multinational corporations who are in total control of OUR government OWN the major media. When corporations and government are working together it is called Fascism. Our news is simply propaganda. We have ceased to be a country whose government is "of, by and for the people". We have been robbed of our Constitutional and God given rights. They are stealing our money and our children's future. Via debt we have been enslaved. I have had way more than enough. I am mad as hell and I am not going to take this anymore.

It is time for a peaceful restoration ,{not revolution} of our heritage which is the Constitutional Republic our founding fathers fought and died for. To start with, The Federal Reserve MUST be abolished. It is unconstitutional, privately owned, tax exempt, for profit and under the control of the international bankers who plan to destroy our nation and force us into their version of Utopia, The New World Order. I'm not going.

May 07 2011 at 9:55 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tortugatommie's comment

Other than the fact that audiences for mainstream media outlets have been declining for years with no end is in sight, you've just about nailed it.

May 07 2011 at 10:26 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It's funny when the unemployment was at 9% plus the nation was on tier 5, the ue was decreased to 9.9 andTier 4, now that it dropped all the people on Tier 4 & 5 it goes back up do those people get to reapply. ???? Or is Washington just playing around.

May 07 2011 at 9:50 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

That's funny, my neighbor Brian who works for Trader JOe's just got laid off this week. apparently the store is showing a slowing. Ya think??? People are not buying the extra's. People are at a need necessity to sustain mode. Any extra 's are forgotten and the little extra money is put into the gas tank. This unemployment picutre is a big numbers game designed to make Washington look good. To US the people and the world.

May 07 2011 at 9:48 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jkennedy806's comment

To make Washington look good? If that were teh case, would be be told unemployment is 3% (or even lower)?

May 07 2011 at 10:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is there any explanation for the component of posters who continue to absurdly claim that those who have exhausted unemployment insurance benefits are somehow no longer counted in the unemployment rate? After all, anybody with a functioning brain cell can go to the BLS website and learn about the methodology for calculating the unemployment rate, which specifically and intentionally has nothing to do with unemployment insurance eligilibity. http://bls.gov/cps/uiclaims.htm No wonder the unemployment rate is so high. Who would hire these total imbeciles?

May 07 2011 at 9:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bggdg's comment

In fact, it's not even neccessary to visit the BLS website. The article itself even provides a high level explanation of how the unemployment rate is calculated: "To calculate the number of jobs that companies have added or subtracted each month, the government surveys about 140,000 businesses and government agencies. That survey covers about a third of all workers in the United States. For the unemployment rate, it calls about 60,000 households and asks people if they're working or looking for a job". Yet, some are STLL dumb enough to keep arguing that the collection of unemployment benefits is a factor? Have we been invaded by illiterate Martians, or something?

May 07 2011 at 9:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In light of the string of the blatant falsehoods being announced by the U.S. government these days (FDA, DHS, White House, etc.) it's interesting that so many people still believe whatever they are told by "official" sources. It brings up the question of the functioning of their brains: How could a person swallow official information so gullible and so completely without even asking commonsense questions about the reliability or factual basis of that information?

These people, it turns out, are operating from what I called The Gullible Mind. It is a psychological processing malfunction that filters out information based on its source rather than its integrity. People who operate from The Gullible Mind tend to have misplaced trust in governments, institutions, mainstream news networks, doctors, scientists or anyone who wears the garb of apparent authority.

Whereas a normal, intelligent person would raise commonsense questions about information they receive from all sources, the Gullible Mind wholly accepts virtually any information from sources that occupy the role of apparent authority in society.

May 07 2011 at 8:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tortugatommie's comment

Is there any medical means by which just one of your brain cells could be restored to a functioning status?

May 07 2011 at 10:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

WOW___if we can continue to created 200,000 jobs per month___It will ONLY take 9 years to get everyone who lost their jobs back to work.

May 07 2011 at 5:51 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply