Job growth was concentrated in lower-paying areas, with leisure and hospitality adding 55,000 positions. Health care and social assistance rose 37,000, financial activities grew by 19,000 and professional and business services grew by 39,000.
The report comes a month after a dismal March that saw payrolls grow by just 79,000, a number that was revised lower from 98,000. That number dashed some of the hopes that the economy was poised for a breakout year in 2017. February’s reading grew, however, from 219,000 to 232,000.
The weak March payroll gain also closed out a disappointing quarter for U.S. growth overall, with gross domestic product rising just 0.7 percent.
Jobs skewed sharply to full-time positions, which grew by 480,000, while the part-time rolls tumbled by 370,000.
The Federal Reserve, at its two-day meeting earlier this week, projected that the weakness to start the year was likely “transitory” and likely to change as seasonal factors abate.
The central bank is widely expected to hike its benchmark interest rate a quarter point at its June meeting.
Chances of a hike rose following the jobs release, with traders now putting a 78.5 percent probability on June for a quarter-point raise. December remains the most likely month for another move with a 57.2 percent chance, up a percentage point from Thursday.
“The Federal Reserve, while not a religious entity, has indicated that its members have faith that the economy will return to a familiar, steady growth path after a lackluster start to the year,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com. “The April jobs report helps them to keep their own brand of faith, meaning that the odds are good that the outlook remains for rising interest rates.”
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Correction — A previous version misstated the number of leisure and hospitality positions.