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Economy Adds 290,000 Jobs in April

But unemployment rate inches up as more Americans enter labor force

About 8.2 million Americans lost their jobs during the recession. The unemployment rate peaked last November at 10.1 percent, a 26-year high.

Among the states, the jobless rate varied. To find out about your state, visit AARP’s Databank U.S.A. and check the “pain index,” a compilation of data about unemployment, housing prices, home foreclosures and other economic news.

Numbers heartening, says Obama

President Obama called the April numbers “particularly heartening when you consider where we were a year ago, with an economy in free fall.” He cited “steady growth” that “is starting to give businesses the confidence to expand and to hire new people.”

Concerning the growth in the unemployment rate, he said that “given the strength of these job numbers, this may seem contradictory, but this increase is largely a reflection of the fact that workers who had dropped out of the workforce entirely ... are now seeking jobs again, encouraged by better prospects.”

Looking ahead, John Challenger, chief executive officer of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas in Chicago, says overall job cuts by U.S. employers are on the decline and hiring is likely to increase in the coming months.

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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