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Unemployment falls to lowest rate in four years

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Updated: 5/03/2013 4:53 pm
(NBC News) In a surprise reversal of recent downbeat economic data, the government reported Friday that the jobs market is substantially healthier than many believed, even as other recent data point to a marked slowdown in April.

Employment rose faster than expected last month, pushing the jobless rate to a four-year low of 7.5 percent. Nonfarm payrolls rose 165,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. Stock markets cheered the news as the Dow Jones industrial average crossed into record territory above 15,000.

The jobs report "will go a long way towards soothing fears of another spring slowdown," said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics. "All things considered, 165,000 isn't the biggest monthly gain in payrolls you'll ever see, but it's enough to assuage concerns that the economy had stalled again."

-- Steve Handelsman, NBC News, reports
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