The number of people in work in the United States rose more than expected in April.
Employers hired 165.000 workers and in addition the job counts for March and February were revised sharply up.
Payroll hiring in March were 50,000 more than previously reported at 138,000 and job growth for February was revised up by 64,000 to 332,000, the largest gain since May 2010.
The figures could help ease concerns of a slowdown in the US economy.
The unemployment rate is now down to its lowest in four years at 7.5 percent of the working population, with the drop reflecting an increase in employment, rather than people leaving the workforce.
“This shows the job market and the economy in general appear to be more resilient than investors had feared,” said Joe Manimbo, a market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.
Still some slowdown signs
Still, some details of the jobs report are consistent with a slowdown in economic activity – manufacturing payrolls were flat while the number of people working in construction fell.
And the pace of hiring – though stronger than expected – remains below the level needed to make a significant dent in the jobless rate.
As long as that rate stays above 6.5 percent, the US central bank – the Federal Reserve – has said it will continue its stimulus efforts – buying billions of dollars of government bonds.
That has helped boost financial markets, but has not translated into robust job gains.
“I don’t think today’s data is strong enough to completely offset some of the weakness we have seen in some other areas, such as overall manufacturing activity and the general pace of economic growth, so I think the Fed will remain fully engaged,” said Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Services in Troy, Michigan.