*The U.S. economy added more jobs than expected in April, but the unemployment rate rose for the first time in five months and the economy’s recent slowdown is likely to keep a lid on future gains.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by 244,000 last month, as the private sector posted the strongest employment gain in five years, the Labor Department said Friday in its survey of employers. Private-sector employers, which account for about 70% of the work force, added 268,000 jobs in April — the biggest rise since February 2006.
The unemployment rate, obtained from a separate household survey, rose to 9% from 8.8% in March. It was the first increase in the jobless rate since November, when it hit 9.8%.
The mixed data was not what analysts expected. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast payrolls would rise by a smaller 185,000 and that the jobless rate would remain unchanged at 8.8%.
Meanwhile, the black unemployment rate is once again at more than 16 percent, the largest increase in six months and nearly matching that of the highest rate recorded for blacks during President Obama’s tenure, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
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