A disappointing total of 115,000 jobs were added to nonfarm payrolls in April, decreasing the unemployment rate by one-tenth of a point to 8.1 percent, a three-year low.

Economists had been predicting an additional 163,000 jobs.

This increase followed a gain of 154,000 in March and gains averaging 252,000 per month for December to February. In April, employment rose in professional and business services, retail trade, and health care. Transportation and warehousing lost jobs over the month.

Employment in professional and business services increased by 62,000 in April. Since a recent low point in September 2009, employment in this industry has grown by 1.5 million.

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