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U.S. Adds 115,000 Jobs; Unemployment Rate at 8.1%

Wall Street Journal (05/04/12) Jeffrey Sparshott; Josh Mitchell

The U.S. economy added 115,000 jobs in April as hiring slacked off for the second straight month, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, dipped to 8.1% from 8.2%, as nearly 350,000 people dropped out of the labor force. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected a gain of 168,000 in payrolls and for the jobless rate to remain at 8.2% in April.

On a positive note, March payrolls grew by an upwardly revised 154,000 from an initially reported 120,000, and February payrolls posted a gain of 259,000, compared with an earlier estimate of 240,000. The report showed that private companies again fueled the growth, adding 130,000 jobs in April. Job growth came from a variety of sectors. Professional and business services, which include temporary help, engineering, and software design, added 62,000 jobs.