Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 244,000 in April, but the unemployment rate nevertheless edged up two-tenths of a percentage point to 9.0 percent.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that job gains occurred in several service-providing industries, along with manufacturing and mining. Accounting and bookkeeping service jobs increased 3,400.

The job gains were higher than expected, even though employment in both state and local government continued to trend down, with April losses concentrated in the non-educational components. Elsewhere in the service-providing sector, employment in information, financial activities, and transportation and warehousing changed little in April.

The number of unemployed persons, at 13.7 million, changed little in April, the BLS noted. The unemployment rate edged up from 8.8 to 9.0 percent over the month, but was 0.8 percentage point lower than in November. The labor force also was little changed in April.

“Today’s report brings encouraging news that our economic recovery continues to take hold, with the strongest private-sector job growth in years during April,” said House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Sander Levin, D-Mich. “The manufacturing sector has played a significant role, adding 141,000 jobs so far this year.”

The number of people unemployed for less than five weeks increased by 242,000 in April, according to the BLS. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) declined by 283,000 to 5.8 million; their share of unemployment declined to 43.4 percent.

“While today's jobs numbers are a recognition that we are moving in the right direction, further progress requires us to focus on three specific goals — getting spending under control, eliminating the burdens the Tax Code imposes on families and employers, and enacting our long-pending trade agreements so American workers and businesses can better sell goods and services in the global economy,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich. “The upcoming debt limit vote provides Washington with an opportunity to agree to real, significant spending cuts — including reforming our entitlement programs — that will show the American people we are serious about getting the country back on track.”

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