U.S. unemployment rate at 9 percent, initial jobless claims increase in New Jersey highest in nation

The U.S. economy added 244,000 jobs last month, but the unemployment rate edged up slightly to 9 percent.

The private sector continued its jobs growth, adding 268,000 jobs in April, while the government workforce shrank by 24,000.

The number of unemployed stayed virtually flat at 13.7 million, but the number of short-term unemployed – those who have been jobless for less than five weeks, jumped 242,000 for the month.

Retail led all sectors in job growth, adding 57,000 jobs in the month, followed by professional and business services with an increase of 51,000 jobs.  The leisure and hospitality sector followed with an additional 46,000 jobs.

Recent good news in manufacturing continued as that sector grew by 29,000 jobs.  Since hitting a low in December 2009, manufacturing has added 250,000 jobs, including 141,000 in 2011.

Non-farm payroll numbers were revised upward for both February and March adding an additional 46,000 jobs.

Friday’s employment report follows data released Thursday that showed  474,000 new jobless claims in the week ending April 30, up 43,000 from the prior week.

In New Jersey, unemployment claims soared 52 percent to over 16,000, for the week ending April 23.  That jump was the highest in the nation. Officials attributed the increase to layoffs in the transportation, warehousing, trade, service, and public administration industries. 

  U.S. unemployment rate at 9 percent, initial jobless claims increase in New Jersey highest in nation