New York (CNNMoney.com) - In another sign that the recovery in the U.S. economy is taking hold, employers added significantly more jobs to payrolls in April, according to a government report released Friday.
There was a gain of 290,000 jobs in the month, up from a revised 230,000 jobs added in March. It was the largest number of jobs added to the labor force since March 2006.
Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a gain of 187,000 jobs.
With upward revisions for both March and February, there has been a gain of 573,000 jobs since the start of the year. After nearly two years of job losses, the economy has now added jobs in five of the last six months.
The report also includes a separate survey of households that it uses to estimate the unemployment rate, which increased to 9.9%. Economists had forecast the rate would remain at the 9.7% rate reported for March.
The increase was due to people who had previously been discouraged returning to the job search. So the rise in the unemployment rate is actually a sign of improving perception of labor market conditions by job seekers. The number of discouraged workers, or people who want a job but are not counted in the labor force has now dropped by 355,000 since December.