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The unemployment rate dropped below 4 percent in April for the first time since 2000.

All this said, the 0.2 percent decline in America's unemployment rate between March and April isn't unambiguously good news.

Although some businesses say the lack of available talent thwarts their growth, the USA has experienced a steady hiring streak this year, adding an average of 202,000 new positions each month. The economy added 164,000 jobs, which was the second consecutive sub-200,000 job month in a row. However, March's wage gain was also revised down, from 2.7% to 2.6%. Only the 1990s expansion was longer. Moreover, manufacturers continue to invest, raise wages and hire more workers as they expand their businesses and plan for the future. That was during the middle of World War II, when millions of men were drafted to fight and their jobs were filled by women. Fortunately, this was largely the result of workers aging out of the labor market, rather than dropping out due to frustration: The employment-to-population ratio among prime age workers was 79.2 percent last month, which is quite close to its pre-recession value.

The fall in the unemployment rate was also boosted by a drop in the labour force participation rate - the percentage of people who are now employed or in search of a job.

However, a significant bump in pay has yet to be seen across most industries.

Fed officials are closely monitoring the results to gauge the health of the US economy and determine whether an interest rate hike is imminent.

Critics say it's "the wrong way to get to 3.9 percent". The last time it was lower than that was 1969. They grew 2.6% from a year earlier, slightly below economists' expectations. The Employment Cost Index, widely viewed by policymakers and economists as one of the better measures of labour market slack, showed wages rising at their fastest pace in 11 years during the first quarter.

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"The job market is getting competitive, and people are able to request higher wages", he said. The Federal Reserve this week signaled it would not overreact to an uptick in inflation but it could face mounting pressure to act more aggressively in the coming year.

Part of the April drop in the rate was due to more people leaving the workforce.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.39% and Standard & Poor's SPX, +1.28% surged in Friday trades, with the Dow up more than 350 points.

Hiring gains in April were broad.

Hiring also rose smartly among health-care providers and manufacturers, each of which added 24,000 jobs. Since a recent low in October 2016, employment in mining has risen by 86,000. We read the employment disappointment as largely noise, especially considering net upward revisions over the last two months, although it could be indicative of growing labor shortages.

"It's a robust pace given where we are in the cycle", Panday said. "The big thing to me was cracking 4", Trump told reporters.

It might be that 4 percent unemployment is the new 5 percent unemployment: good, but not good enough.


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