U.S. job growth rebounded sharply in April and the unemployment rate dropped to a near 17-year low of 4.4 percent, signs of a tightening labor market that could seal the case for an interest rate increase next month despite moderate wage growth.
Nonfarm payrolls jumped by 211,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, well above the monthly average of 185,000 for this year and a jump from the gain of 79,000 in March.
Job gains were driven by a surge in hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector as well as business and professional services.
The drop of one-tenth of a percentage point in the unemployment rate took it to its lowest level since May 2007.
The decline reflected both an increase in hiring and people leaving the labor force.
The labor force participation rate, or the share of working-age Americans who are employed or at least looking