- Nonfarm payrolls added 244,000 jobs, the biggest gain since May 2010. This is much higher than expected--economists were looking for a jump of about 185,000 jobs. Excluding government jobs, April had the biggest monthly employment increase in five years.
- Unemployment crept up to 9.0 percent. Last month it was at 8.8 percent, a two-year low, and economists had predicted it would stay there. April marks the first increase in unemployment since November--although the Associated Press writes that the uptick happened "because some people resumed looking for work."
- Manufacturing payrolls added 29,000 jobs. Retail added 57,000. The manufacturing figure is especially noteworthy: that sector has now added jobs for six months in a row, the first time that's happened since 1998.
- On the other hand, government payrolls fell by 24,000 jobs. Finance and insurance lost 3,700, and residential building construction lost 2,100.
- Average hourly earnings rose by only 0.1 percent. They were expected to rise by 0.2 percent.
Yesterday, a separate report from the Labor Department had a lot of people worried; it showed first-time unemployment benefit claims at an eight-month high. But MSNBC says that today's numbers mark a continuation of "the solid pace of job creation" seen in February and March.
The report does contains some discouraging indicators. The U6 rate--which includes part-time workers who'd like to work full-time, and unemployed people who've stopped looking for work because they don't think they can find anything--crept up from 15.7 to 15.9 percent. That's the first U6 increase in 2011.