The American economy added an unexpected strong 290,000 jobs in April, while the unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent, the government said Friday.
Analysts had expected a gain of about 190,000 in the month.
With revisions on Friday, April was the fourth consecutive month that the economy added workers (a revised 230,000 jobs were added in March instead of 162,000), the job market still has a long way to go before it can be counted on to provide a base for a sustained economic recovery. More than 15.3 million were unemployed last month.
Besides March, February was revised from a loss of 14,000 jobs to a gain of 39,000. With a January gain of 14,000, the cumulative increase came to 573,000 jobs in four months.
Private employers added 231,000 jobs in April. The federal government added jobs last month, including 66,000 temporary positions for the 2010 Census.
“The economy is turning; unfortunately it is not improving as much as one would hope given the downturn,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist for Miller Tabak and Company. “As companies come out of the downturn they are going to be somewhat reluctant to at least immediately increase their work force.”
As a result, more than 9.2 million still relied on part-time employment in April.
“We are looking at jobs growth in the vicinity of 150,000 to 175,000 per month going forward,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist for Avalon Partners said. “That means the unemployment rate is going to stay on high level ground for a while.”
Friday’s jobless data was the latest to contribute to a picture of a slowly improving economy, and analysts hoped the employment numbers would help to fuel the momentum of upturns in business confidence.
The Obama Administration will tout this as good news, and it is, but we’re going to need a lot more months with much higher job growth than this for things to really be back on track,