WASHINGTON (CN) – The nation added 290,000 jobs in April, the strongest growth in four years, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department. The unemployment rate edged up to 9.9 percent, up from 9.7 percent, as more people reentered the workforce in hopes of finding a job.
The number of participants in the labor force sharply increased by 805,000 in April, which contributed to the higher unemployment rate. Economists expect the unemployment rate to hold steady at around 10 percent as the economy climbs back to normal.
The addition of 290,000 jobs last month was far higher than forecasters predicted, who had estimated an increase of 162,000 jobs.
Job gains occurred across the board, in the manufacturing, professional and business services, health care and leisure and hospitality industries. Federal government employment also rose in April as the government added 66,000 temporary workers for Census 2010.
The economy has added 573,000 jobs since December, with 483,000 in the private sector.
A total of 15.3 million people were unemployed nationwide in April.