US jobs report exceeds expectations

Staff hired at fastest pace in over two years

The US Federal Reserve will see the buoyant employment figures as vindication of its decision to continue reducing or “tapering” its asset buys at a rate of $10 billion a month. Photograph: Reuters/Larry Downing

The US Federal Reserve will see the buoyant employment figures as vindication of its decision to continue reducing or “tapering” its asset buys at a rate of $10 billion a month. Photograph: Reuters/Larry Downing

Sat, May 3, 2014, 01:00

US employers hired new staff at the fastest pace in more than two years in April, offering fresh signs of gathering momentum in the world’s largest economy.

The economy added 288,000 jobs last month, the most since 2012 and much more than the 218,000 expected by economists. The jobs report also contained upward revisions for February and March, worth a combined 36,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 per cent.

The Federal Reserve will see the buoyant figures as vindication of its decision to continue reducing or “tapering” its asset buys at a rate of $10 billion a month.

It has cut the pace of quantitative easing by almost half – from $85 billion a month in December to $45 billion – and is on track to end the programme entirely this year.

This week, data showed growth in the US economy had essentially stalled in the first quarter – expanding at an annualised rate of 0.1 per cent. Yet many economists dismissed this as a blip caused by an extreme winter and argued that the US would perform more strongly in the second quarter and the rest of the year. –(Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2014)