The last time America's unemployment rate was this low, "Smooth" by Santana was topping the charts, and officials were still counting "hanging chads" in Broward County, Florida.
The labor force participation rate was already declining when the recession caused it to suddenly drop.
The U.S. added 164,000 new jobs in April, missing economist expectations of 195,000.
Overall, the data show a labor market that remains resilient in the face of a potential global trade war but whose growth is slowing as the recovery from the Great Recession this month became the second-longest in USA history.
Catherine Barrera, chief economist of the online job site ZipRecruiter said the following. But auto manufacturing, government and wholesale trade all shrank. Only the 1990s expansion was longer. Workers often seek higher wages when they change jobs, but since there hasn't been much movement on that front it could mean less growth. The unemployment rate only counts people as unemployed if they've actively looked for work recently, and so it can drop for several reasons.
Economists expect that low unemployment will lead to increasingly big pay bumps for workers as employers fight over a dwindling number of candidates. More than half of that total - 127,000 jobs - was in medium-sized businesses of 50 to 499 workers, the company said.
President Trump is aiming to get the economy at least growing at a consistent three percent.
Coming into this month, "wages showed a moderate 2.7 percent annual increase", NPR's John Ydstie reported. They also expected to see the unemployment level drop slightly.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.3 million in April and accounted for 20.0 percent of the unemployed. But Friday's data should ease those concerns for now and keep the Fed on track to continue to slowly raise its key short-term interest rate this year.
Hiring gains in April were broad.
April's job gains was boosted by the manufacturing, health care and the professional and business services sector.
Mining, a category that includes not just coal and metals but jobs in oil and gas fields, added 8,000 positions, partly because of a rise in oil prices.
The low unemployment level "is finally spurring the wage growth economists have been looking for", said Rebecca Henderson, the CEO of Randstad Sourceright.
According to ADP, U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased in April by 241,000 jobs.
"It's a robust pace given where we are in the cycle", Panday said. "3.9% Unemployment. 4% is Broken!" he said on Twitter.
The year-to-date total U.S.jobs gain has been +799,000.
Manufacturers added 24,000 workers last month, a sign that possible tariffs on steel, aluminum and Chinese goods haven't altered hiring plans at most US factories.
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