Unemployment rate falls to 7.3 pct., but number of workers and job-seekers at a 35-year low
The report contained some other positive signs: Average hourly earnings picked up, rising 5 cents to $24.05. Hourly pay has risen 2.2 percent in the past 12 months. That's slightly ahead of the 2 percent inflation rate over the same period.
The average hourly work week ticked up to 34.5 from 34.4, a sign that companies needed more labor. That can lead to larger paychecks.
The modest jobs figures contrast with other recent data that suggested that the economy could be picking up. For example, reports from the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, showed that manufacturers expanded at the fastest pace in more than two years last month.
And service firms grew at the quickest pace in more than eight years, the ISM found.
AP Economics Writers Paul Wiseman and Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.
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