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"Getting down to 3.9 is quite a marker", said Robert Frick, chief economist with Navy Federal Credit Union. February's increase was trimmed to 324,000 from 326,000.

Many employers though are struggling to find qualified workers in this tight labor market.

The U.S. unemployment rate has dropped two-tenths of a point to 3.9%.

Manufacturers added 24,000 workers in April. It was the second straight monthly drop in the participation rate.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls rising by 192,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate falling to 4 per cent. Average hourly earnings increased 0.1% from the prior month and 2.6% from a year earlier, both less than projected.

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Ahead of the report, stocks were meandering between slightly positive and negative territory in anticipation of strong data but the major indices were mostly in the red. The jobless rates for adult men (3.7 percent), teenagers (12.9 percent), Whites (3.6 percent), Blacks (6.6 percent), Asians (2.8 percent), and Hispanics (4.8 percent) showed little or no change over the month.

Companies like Apple AAPL.O have used their tax windfall for share buybacks and dividends. President Donald Trump hailed the drop in unemployment, which had held steady at 4.1% for six months, and has taken credit for the robust economy, which has been a bright spot amid an unbroken string of political scandals.

President Trump celebrated the report.

Democrats, however, reiterated their criticism of the tax cuts, saying more than $390 billion in share buybacks had been announced since the passage of the tax bill. Job growth in March was also disappointing. The difference, Knutson says, is that his company will provide a career path, cover the costs of health insurance and generally raise a worker's pay to $35 an hour after five years. Still, the Fed signaled on Wednesday that it won't be overly concerned if inflation rises a bit above 2% for a few months.

Last Wednesday, the Federal Reserve met but opted to keep interest rates unchanged, though it still has a positive view of the economy, as analysts expect the central bank to hike rates when it meets in June.

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Economists interpreted symmetric to mean policymakers would not be too anxious with inflation overshooting the target.

The unemployment rate falls to a record low, but employers still fail to meet expectations for April.

Even with the unemployment rate drifting further below Fed officials' estimates of levels sustainable in the long run, the report didn't indicate fresh upward pressure yet on wages and inflation.

The solid job growth is a continuation of an economy that has been growing for almost nine years, the second longest streak on record. The number of people quitting jobs is also historically high, as workers leave for better jobs. Employment in professional and business services increased by 54,000.

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