Unemployment rate falls to 3.9 percent, 164,000 jobs added in April

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2017, file photo, workers build an apartment and retail complex in Nashville, Tenn. On Friday, April 27, 2018, the Commerce Department issues its first estimate of how the U.S. economy performed in the January-March quarter. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

The unemployment rate dropped below 4 percent in April as the economy added 164,000 new jobs, according to data released by the Department of Labor Friday.

Citing job gains in professional and business services, manufacturing, health care, and mining, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate is now 3.9 percent, the lowest it has been since December 2000.

President Donald Trump celebrated the news in a tweet on Friday morning.

"JUST OUT: 3.9% Unemployment. 4% is Broken! In the meantime, WITCH HUNT!" he wrote, presumably referring to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, which he often dismisses as a witch hunt.

Significant job gains were seen among women 16 years old and over, with their unemployment rate falling from 4.0 to 3.7 percent. Most other demographics showed little change from March.

The labor force participation rate, 62.8 percent, and the employment-population ratio, 60.3 percent, both slipped .1 percent since March, suggesting more workers have left the labor force.

Average hourly wages were up in April, rising by 4 cents to $26.84. This represents a 2.6 percent gain since April 2017.

The job outlook in manufacturing and mining, two sectors often emphasized by President Trump, continued to improve. Employment in mining was up by 8,000 jobs, bringing the total new jobs since October 2016 to 86,000. In manufacturing, employment jumped by 24,000 new jobs, mostly in durable goods.

There has been minimal change since March in the construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government sectors.

Slightly lower than economists expected, the 164,000 new jobs added in April were below the average of 191,000 jobs for the previous 12 months.

Job numbers for February and March were also revised, with a total of 30,000 more new jobs counted than initially reported. With those adjustments job gains have averaged 208,000 over the last three months.

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