WASHINGTON May 8 U.S. employers cut a
smaller-than-expected 539,000 jobs in April, the smallest
amount since October, according to government data on Friday
that hinted at some improvement in the labor market and the
However, the Labor Department said the unemployment rate
soared to 8.9 percent, the highest since September 1983.
March's payrolls figure was revised to show a decline of
699,000, compared with a previously reported drop of 663,000.
Job losses in February were bumped up to 681,000 from the
previously estimated 651,000.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast non-farm payrolls
dropping 590,000 in April. The unemployment rate had been
forecast to rise to 8.9 percent from 8.5 percent in March.
The report showed job losses across almost all sectors,
although at a less steep pace than in the previous months. The
government and education and health services sectors added
The manufacturing sector lost 149,000 jobs in April, after
shedding 167,000 the prior month. Construction industries cut
110,000 jobs after losing 135,000 in March.
The service-providing industry slashed 269,000 positions
after eliminating 381,000 in March.
Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the
economy has lost 5.7 million jobs, the department said.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani, Editing by Andrea Ricci)