U.S. economy adds 223,000 jobs

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CNN – The U.S. added 223,000 jobs in April, a healthy pick up after disappointing gains in March. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney projected 220,000.

 April’s job gains reflect a trend the country saw last year: job growth cooling in the winter months, then gaining momentum into the spring. The strong April number also lowers concerns about a hiring slowdown.

The good news doesn’t stop there either. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.4%, its lowest mark since May 2008.

Wages grew 2.2%, above the expectations from CNNMoney’s survey. Paltry wage growth during the recovery is the main reason why many Americans are still struggling. Some experts believe wage growth will pick up more now that the unemployment rate is hovering around 5.5% for several months.

Related: America’s capsizing economy: Can it right the ship?

Investors were very happy with the report. The Dow is soaring over 150 points in pre-market trading. It was only up about 50 points before the jobs report came out.

April’s jobs report could be the first sign that the U.S. economy is finding its footing again. Last year ended on a high note with strong job gains and robust economic growth.

Then the winter of 2015 came.

The economy barely grew in the first quarter this year. Many experts thought low gas prices would encourage Americans to spend during the winter months. Shoppers stayed home though as retail sales — computers, clothes and cars — were negative or near flat.

On Friday, the Labor Department revised down March’s job gains to 85,000 as well, reinforcing arguments that March was an outlier for the economy.

The cold weather, strong U.S. dollar and West Coast port strike were the culprits for weak economic growth.

But after Friday’s good job news, the tide could be turning in the right direction for the U.S. economy.

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