The Labor Department said Friday that the US unemployment rate rose in April, but that the economy added more jobs than had previously been expected. Behind the increase in jobs, however, is a dismal and in many ways worsening employment situation, combined with a systematic attack on wages and social programs.
The unemployment rate grew to 9 percent, up from 8.8 percent in March. The number of employees reported by businesses increased to 244,000, higher than the 185,000 that economists expected. This is still barely enough to keep up with the growth in the labor market.
The Labor Department bases its estimate of the unemployment rate on a survey of households, while the payroll figure comes from a survey of businesses. Because of this, the two do not always move together.
The 244,000 jobs created in April represent only a small portion of the jobs that were destroyed during the downturn. Since February 2010, the US economy has created 1.8 million jobs. But this figure pales in comparison with the 8.7 million jobs that were lost since the start of the recession.