Winter is over and it looks like the economy is springing back. According to figures released by the Labor Department, Black unemployment fell from 12.4 percent in March to 11.6 percent in April. The overall unemployment rate also dipped to 6.3 percent, the lowest since 2008.
In more good news, the economy added an impressive 288,000 jobs, the most in two years. ADP in its monthly report on job trends had predicted 220,000 jobs. Most of those gains came from the manufacturing and construction sectors as well as medium-size to small businesses.
"The job market is gaining strength," said Mark Zandy, chief economist for Moody's Analytics, who helps prepare the ADP report. "After a tough winter, employers are expanding payrolls across nearly all industries and company sizes."
The job market, he added, is "steadily improving."
The news was not all good. On Thursday the Labor Department reported that first-time unemployment claims jumped to a two-month high of 344,000 applications.
"While this month’s report happens to be above expectations, it is still broadly consistent with the recent trends we have been seeing in the labor market," said Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. "The president continues to emphasize that more can and should be done to support the recovery, including acting on his own executive authority to expand economic opportunity, as well as pushing Congress for additional investments in infrastructure, education and research, an increase in the minimum wage, and a reinstatement of extended unemployment insurance benefits."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said in his statement that the Democratic-led Senate is what is keeping Capitol Hill lawmakers from getting jobs bills to the president's desk.
"The House has sent the Senate bill after bill that would increase growth, encourage job creation and put more money in the pockets of working middle-class families. Many of these bills are overwhelmingly bipartisan, and some of them are even sponsored by their fellow Democrats. Senate Democrats are more interested in political theater than helping struggling Americans," Cantor said.
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(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)