Unemployment rate hits lowest level since December 1969

The U.S. economy continued to show strength as the Labor Department reported Friday that 263,000 jobs were created last month - almost as many as in February and March combined - as the nation's unemployment rate dropped to the extraordinarily low level of 3.6 percent, down from 3.8 percent in March.

Along with more people finding work, average hourly wages rose again in April - and have increased by 3.2 percent over the past year.

"Another month, another set of great job numbers," said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), as the numbers were good news not only for workers, but for Republicans and the Trump Administration.

“This is what happens when Washington lets working families keep more of their hard earned dollars!” tweeted Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA).

“We've now had over a full year of unemployment at 4% or lower,” said Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).

“Our booming economy means more businesses are hiring,” said Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI).

At 3.6 percent, the national unemployment rate is the lowest since December of 1969.

While the national unemployment rate ticked down, the U6 rate, considered the broadest measure of joblessness in the United States, remained at 7.3 percent in April - but that figure is down from 8.1 percent in January of 2019.

The 263,000 jobs created in April continued a streak of monthly job growth that has now hit 103 months in a row - extending back to October of 2010.

One of the few disappointing numbers was the Labor Force Participation Rate, which dropped in April to 62.8 percent.  That figure has been stuck in a narrow range now for almost six years.

The jobs report came in the wake of two other positive indicators in recent days about the economy, as economic growth was estimated at a strong 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019, and US consumer spending grew 0.9% in March, the biggest gain since August 2009.

Also helping the economy at this point is the fact that inflation remains quiet, meaning there is no need for the Federal Reserve to back any interest rate increases; President Donald Trump has repeatedly and very publicly criticized interest rate hikes in 2018, charging they dampened economic growth.

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