Dow tops 15,000 for first time

WASHINGTON — The Dow Jones industrial average crossed 15,000 on Friday morning for the first time after the release of strong US employment figures.

  • Published: 3/05/2013 at 08:31 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

US employers added 165,000 jobs in April, and hiring was much stronger in the previous two months than the government first estimated. The job increases helped reduce the unemployment rate from 7.6% to a four-year low of 7.5%.

The report Friday from the Labor Department was a reassuring sign that the job market is improving despite higher taxes and government spending cuts that took effect this year, and the stock market responded accordingly.

The government revised up its estimate of job gains in February and March by a combined 114,000. It now says employers added 332,000 jobs in February and 138,000 in March.

The economy has created an average of 208,000 jobs a month from November through April — above the 138,000 added in the previous six months.

An additional 210,000 people started looking for work in April, and many of them found jobs.

The stronger job growth suggests that the federal budget cutting "does not mean recession", said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo bank. "It does not mean a dramatic slowdown."

The unemployment rate has fallen 0.4 percentage points since the start of the year, though it remains high.

The Federal Reserve has said it plans to keep short-term interest rates at record lows at least until unemployment falls to 6.5%.

The hiring last month was broad-based. The only sectors of the economy that cut jobs last month were construction and government.

Professional and business services, which includes high-paying fields such as accounting, engineering and architecture, added 73,000 jobs. Retailers added 29,000 and healthcare 19,000.

A total of 11.7 million people were unemployed in April. Since January, the number has fallen by 673,000.

The number of people who have been unemployed for more than six months dropped 258,000 to 4.4 million. Over the past year, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 687,000.

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