ByÂ Jason Lange
(Reuters) – Employers likely increased hiring in April, although not enough to lower the country’s 8.2 percent jobless rate, keeping pressure on President Barack Obama ahead of his November re-election bid.
Employers likely added 170,000 workers to their payrolls last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists, up from March’s meager print of 120,000.
That would allay fears the economy is losing momentum. But it also could dampen hopes that a stretch of strong winter hiring signaled a turning point for the economic recovery.
“We’re still growing just gradually,” said Nigel Gault, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts.
“Hiring is coming back into line with what you would expect with sluggish growth.”
The Labor Department will release the April employment report on Friday at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT).
The report, which regularly sets the tone for financial markets around the world, could rattle nerves at the White House. Weak growth and high unemployment create a formidable headwind for Obama, who entered office during the darkest days of the 2007-09 recession.
His Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, repeatedly has accused Obama of doing too little to foster job growth.
The unemployment rate, which soared to as high as 10 percent during Obama’s first year in the office, is seen holding steady at 8.2 percent. After holding near 9 percent for most of last year, it fell sharply over the winter.
Still, it remains about 2 percentage points higher than its average over the last 50 years, and the Federal Reserve thinks it probably will not post a full recovery for at least several more years.
Nevertheless, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last month the central bank is providing enough support for the economy, and an as-expected jobs report is unlikely to alter that stance.
To read more, visit:Â http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/04/us-usa-economy-jobs-idUSBRE8410ND20120504
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