US stocks surge on strong job creation in April

 A worker builds an engine for a Ford Focus on the assembly line at Ford Motor's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. New jobs are being created in the US

US employment rose more than expected in April.

The latest US non-farm payrolls show that 165,000 jobs were created last month. Economists had been predicting a figure closer to 145,000.

The unemployment rate is now at its lowest level in four years, at 7.5%.

The strong increase in the jobs figures provided a boost to the markets. In New York, the Dow Jones index jumped above the 15,000 level for the first time in history before slipping back slightly.

The drop in the unemployment rate reflected an increase in employment, rather than people leaving the workforce.

The US Labor Department also revised its figures for March and February upwards.

The February number was revised up to 332,000, the best monthly gain since May 2010.

March non-farm payrolls were revised upwards by 50,000 to 138,000.

Giving the Obama administration's view of the figures, Alan Krueger, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said: "It is critical that we remain focused on pursuing policies to speed job creation and expand the middle class, as we continue to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007."

Joe Manimbo, market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions, said the numbers were "surprisingly positive".

"This shows the job market and the economy in general appear to be more resilient than investors had feared," he added.

'Uneven' labour market

But some analysts felt the details behind the headline numbers still pointed to a economy that continues to struggle. Construction employment fell and the payrolls in the manufacturing sector remained flat.

Economist Beth Ann Bovino says the Federal Reserve will focus on the jobs market until it saw a "substantial improvement"

Tom Porcelli, US economist at RBC Capital Markets, saw a more mixed picture in the figures.

"A couple of things drive this home, namely average weekly earnings are down and aggregate hours. Those are more forward looking metrics and how it will unfold in the fourth quarter that is not encouraging," he said.

"This report confirms that the labour market backdrop remains very much uneven."

The Dow Jones closed 0.96% or 142.38 points higher at 14,973.96. The S&P 500 closed up 1.05%, or 16.83 points, at 1,614.42.

More on This Story

US Economy

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Cerro RicoSatanic mines

    Devil worship in the tunnels of the man-eating mountain


  • Nefertiti MenoeWar of words

    The woman who sparked a row over 'speaking white'


  • Oil pumpPump change

    What would ending the US oil export ban do to petrol prices?


  • Brazilian Scene, Ceara, in 1893Sir Snapshot

    19th Century Brazil seen through the eyes of an Englishman


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • SailingGame on

    BBC Capital discovers why certain sports seem to have a special appeal for those with deep pockets

Programmes

  • European Union's anti-terrorism chief Gilles de KerchoveHARDtalk Watch

    Anti-terrorism chief Gilles de Kerchove on the threat from returning Islamic State fighters

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.