- The Washington Times - Friday, May 5, 2017

Employers added 211,000 jobs last month, the government reported Friday, with the unemployment rate dropping to a near 10-year low of 4.4 percent.

The gains were far ahead of the pace in March, when only 79,00 jobs were added. The lowering of the jobless rate from 4.5 percent brought it to the lowest level since May 2007, before the recession.

It was another welcomed sign for the Trump administration that the economy is heating up, despite a report last week that growth in the first quarter was only 0.7 percent. Some analysts said the strong job numbers are likely to convince the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.

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Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said job growth was particularly strong in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, as well as mining.

“This steady and sustained increase in job creation equals new paychecks for American workers and income for American families,” Mr. Acosta said. “Nonetheless, we have challenges ahead as we continue to focus on job growth, on bridging the skills gap and on expanding opportunity for all Americans.”

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, Texas Republican, said the report “shows our economy is making progress, and I’m confident we will accelerate this progress as we continue working with President Trump on our pro-growth agenda.”

“Just yesterday, the House took a major step forward by repealing nearly $1 trillion of Obamacare’s crushing taxes and mandates that have hurt workers and families and stifled job creation,” Mr. Brady said. “We also laid the foundation for a robust, free-market health care system based on competition, innovation, and choice — key drivers for a stronger economy.”

The manufacturing sector gained 6,000 jobs in April, according to the Labor Department. Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said manufacturers have added 70,000 jobs in the past five months, “but indicators like slowing U.S. factory activity growth suggest that we still need to lay more tracks for the future.”

“If we’re to keep moving forward, we must bring back production through tax reform that promotes exports and domestic manufacturing, invest in infrastructure with strong ‘Buy America’ preferences, and actively push back against China and its anti-competitive practices,” he said.

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