NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – The unemployment rate hit a 25-year high in April, but there were signs of hope as the monthly job loss total fell to the lowest level in six months.
The Labor Department reported that employers cut 539,000 jobs from payrolls in the month. That's an improvement from the revised reading of 699,000 that were lost in March, and the best reading since October, when the economy shed 380,000 jobs.
Still, that brings job losses since the start of 2008 to 5.7 million.
The unemployment rate, based on a separate survey rose to 8.9% from 8.5% in March, the worst reading since September 1983. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast the rate would rise to 8.9%.
Economists had forecast a loss of 600,000 in April, but there had been signs in recent days that the job losses might not be as bad as they expected. A reading on private sector employment by payroll services firm ADP showed a big drop in job losses in April, and there has been a steady decline in recent weeks in people filing for first-time unemployment benefits.
Listen: CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry on the economy.
To subscribe to this podcast go to cnn.com/podcast.