Jobless rate at 3.4 percent after gain of 223,000 jobs

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Not since May of 2008 has the nation's jobless rate been this low -- 5.4 percent. It dropped a tenth of a point in April, as employers added 223,000 jobs.

The gains signal that companies are confident enough to hire at a steady pace. And it could help fuel an economic rebound after a January-to-March quarter in which the economy is believed to have shrunk.

But the job growth isn't yet raising worker pay very much. Average hourly wages rose just three cents last month to $24.87.

And the lackluster job gain in March was revised sharply down to just 85,000 from 126,000. In the past three months, employers have added 191,000 positions, a decent gain but well below last year's average of 260,000.

Still, Scott Clemons of Brown Brothers Harriman Private Banking says the report indicates that "the economy is in decent health." He says he's surprised by the small gain in wages, adding that "Everything in this cycle has been slow-motion." Clemons says, "Maybe wages are another example of that."

Tara Sinclair, chief economist at the job listings service Indeed, says, "Things are looking pretty good and going in the right direction, but where is the wage growth?"

%@AP Links

141-a-13-(Diane Swonk, chief economist, Mesirow Financial, in AP interview)-"market is turning"-Mesirow Financial chief economist Diane Swonk says construction companies, which include many higher-paying positions, added jobs at a healthy pace in April. (8 May 2015)

<<CUT *141 (05/08/15)££ 00:13 "market is turning"

140-a-10-(Diane Swonk, chief economist, Mesirow Financial, in AP interview)-"a weak note"-Mesirow Financial chief economist Diane Swonk says the solid jobs report for April did include a sharp downward revision for March. (8 May 2015)

<<CUT *140 (05/08/15)££ 00:10 "a weak note"

139-c-15-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent)-"revised even lower"-AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports the April report showed a nice rebound from March. (8 May 2015)

<<CUT *139 (05/08/15)££ 00:15 "revised even lower"

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