The unemployment rate continues to go down.
For the second straight month, national unemployment numbers have dropped, going from 8.2 in March to 8.1 in April, the Department of Labor announced Friday. This follows an overall trend since September 2011: unemployment rates have dropped every month since then except for February, when the rate remained the same as January.
This is the lowest unemployment has been since January 2009.
According to an Associated Press survey of 32 leading economists, it's quite possible that the unemployment rate will drop below 8 percent before November.
Despite the drop in unemployment, hiring did slow down in April; 115,000 jobs were added last months, down from the upwardly revised 154,000 jobs in March and far fewer than the 200,000 jobs added December-February.
This falls in line with prediction economists surveyed made, saying despite optimism about the unemployment rate, they didn't see hiring in 2012 keeping the same brisk pace of the first couple of months.
Job gains in March and April averaged 135,000; the average per month must be at least 125,000 just to keep up with population growth--twice that number is necessary to significantly reduce the unemployment rate.
The Labor Department says there are some indicators that hiring in May will be at a relatively healthy level: the number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in a year, while hiring jumped in the manufacturing industry.
The job market has a long way to go to dig itself out of the hole caused by the recession: of 8.8 million jobs lost, only 3.7 million have been added back.