National unemployment rate lowest since 2000

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(AP) – U.S. employers stepped up hiring in April as the unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent, evidence of the economy’s resilience amid the recent stock market chaos and anxieties about a possible trade war.

The Labor Department says employers added a decent 164,000 jobs last month, up from an upwardly revised 135,000 in March. The unemployment rate fell after having held at 4.1 percent for the prior six months largely because fewer people were searching for jobs.

The unemployment rate is the lowest since December 2000. The black unemployment rate of 6.6 percent is the lowest on record since 1972.

Many employers say it’s difficult to find qualified workers. But they have yet to significantly bump up pay in most industries. Average hourly earnings rose 2.6 percent from a year ago.

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