US employers hired workers at the fastest clip in more than two years in April, pointing to a rebound in economic growth after a dreadful winter and keeping the US Federal Reserve on track to end bond purchases this year.
The brightening outlook was, however, tempered somewhat by a sharp increase in the number of people dropping out of the labor force, which pushed the unemployment rate to a 5-1/2-year low of 6.3 per cent. Wage growth also was stagnant.
Non-farm payrolls surged 288,000 last month, the US Labor Department said on Friday. That was largest gain since January 2012 and beat economists’ expectations for only a 210,000 rise.
About 806,000 people dropped out of the labor force in April, unwinding the previous months’ gains. Overall, however, the data suggested the economy was gathering strength and led investors to pull forward their bets on when the Fed will start to raise interest rates.