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September 1, 2014, 12:35 pm

Slow recovery in sluggish economy

The U.S. economy continues to slowly improve with a new jobs report Friday showing that the economy added just 115,000 jobs in April.

The unemployment rate slightly decreased to 8.1 percent last month from 8.2. percent in March, according to the Department of Labor. The African-American unemployment rate dropped a full point to 13 percent, one of the most positive signs in the jobs report.

The Labor Department said there was a drop in the number of people seeking jobs, a sign they are still struggling to find work. It was the second straight month the number of Americans with jobs declined.

While the number of jobs added to the economy was disappointing and a drop from recent months economists says given seasonal factors, the average job growth of the last three months — 176,000 jobs — is probably a better measure of the jobs market trend.

“This trend is well above the roughly 100,000 jobs per month we need to keep the unemployment rate stable, so the labor market continues to very slowly improve, but it is a far cry from the 300,000 or 400,000 jobs we would need per month to get back to full employment in a reasonable timeframe, “said the Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think thank.

Job growth was in manufacturing, retailers, hotels and restaurants. Professional services such as engineering and information technology, also added jobs.

There are signs that hiring will improve.

The Institute for Supply Management, a private trade group, said last week that factory activity grew at the fastest pace in 10 months.

The economy is expected to grow 2.5 percent this year, according to economists polled by the Associated Press.

That would be considered average in a healthy economy, but faster growth is needed to spur greater job creation.