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Employers added a booming 263,000 jobs, the Labor Department said today (May 3). The unemployment rate fell from 3.8% to 3.6%, lowest since December 1969, but that was because nearly 500,000 Americans left the labor force, which includes people working and looking for jobs. 

Economists had estimated that 190,000 jobs were added last month, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Another positive: Job gains for February and March were revised up by a modest 16,000. February’s total was upgraded from 33,000 to 56,000 and March’s was revised down from 196,000 to 189,000.

Several crosscurrents were expected to affect April employment. Midwest snowstorms were likely to reduce job gains by about 20,000, Goldman Sachs estimated.

Meanwhile, the research firm estimated that early federal government hiring for the 2020 census would increase employment additions by up to 10,000. High Frequency Economics forecast a bigger boost of about 20,000 from Census-related hiring. Those jobs, however, are temporary.

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