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Job Losses Are Less than Expected, as Unemployment Rate Eases to 5 Percent

Although the economy continued its trend of job loss in April 2008, the actual number of jobs lost was far less than economists had predicted. The economy showed some signs of revival in April, as only 20,000 jobs were lost, much less than the 73,000 jobs that economists had forecast would disappear.

The unemployment rate also surprised economists, as it dropped 0.1 percent to 5.2 percent, easing fears that the uncertain labor markets would push the rate up to 5.2 percent. Average hourly earnings rose a paltry 1 cent, and strong employment gains in the health and education services sector offset predicted losses in industries like manufacturing and construction, both hit hard by the sluggish real estate market.

Regardless of the job market’s encouraging performance in April 2008, payrolls remain low, which could indicate that the soft labor market will continue for some time.