Businesses now hiring at fastest pace since 2006

WASHINGTON—American companies are on a hiring spree. Businesses delivered a jolt of strength to the economy by creating 268,000 jobs in April, the biggest monthly total in more than five years. The gains were solid across an array of industries, even beleaguered construction.It was the third month in a row of at least 200,000 new jobs. The private sector has added jobs for 14 consecutive months. Even a slight rise in the unemployment rate to 9 percent appears to be a quirk.

The job growth was better than economists expected and perhaps the strongest sign yet that what they call a “virtuous cycle” has taken hold: When people spend more, corporate earnings rise, leading to more hiring and then more spending.

Companies have added more than 200,000 jobs for three months in a row.

“This was really a good report because ultimately it is all about jobs,” said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors. “More and more, it is looking as if the recovery is on track despite the headwinds it is facing.”

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