The Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate fell from 6.7 percent in March to 6.3 percent in April. Employers added a total of 288,000 new jobs during the month, the most in two years. Previous monthly figures were revised as well, adding another 36,000 jobs to the numbers originally published for February and March combined.
Job growth is also accelerating. For the February, March, and April period, an average of 238,000 jobs were added each month. For the previous three months, job growth averaged just 167,000 per month. This is significant not just for the bottom line numbers, but also for the fact that the previous three months included the holiday shopping season, a time when employment and job gains normally occur.
Looking at different market sectors, manufacturing added 12,000 jobs, professional and technical added 25,100, and construction increased by 32,000. These numbers are encouraging because they show that economic growth is broad based and not limited only to lower paying positions.
Other economic indicators are up as well. Consumer spending increased in April as more Americans purchased vehicles and spent money at a faster clip. Personal earnings were also up. According to Labor Department figures, incomes increased by 0.5 percent in March, the largest increase since August, 2013.
With the positive momentum and improvements in most segments of the economy, analysts are now projecting a strong second quarter with 3.5 percent annualized economic growth. If forecasts hold true for the year, the growth for 2014 could easily reach 3 percent, a significant improvement compared to the 1.9 percent in 2013.