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US added 428,000 jobs in April despite growing economic fears

US added 428,000 jobs in April despite growing economic fears


US added 428,000 jobs in April despite growing economic fears

WASHINGTON — America’s employers added 428,000 jobs in April, extending a streak of solid hiring that has defied punishing inflation, chronic supply shortages, the Russian war against Ukraine and much higher borrowing costs.

Yet it’s unclear how long the jobs boom will continue. The Federal Reserve this week raised its key rate by a half-percentage point — its most aggressive move since 2000 — and signaled further large rate hikes to come. As the Fed’s rate hikes take effect, they will make it increasingly expensive for consumers and businesses to borrow, spend and hire.

In addition, the vast economic aid that the government had been supplying to households has expired. And Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has helped accelerate inflation and clouded the economic outlook. Some economists warn of a growing risk of recession.

Chronic shortages of goods, supplies and workers have contributed to skyrocketing price increases — the highest inflation rate in 40 years.

In the meantime, with many industries slowed by worker shortages, companies have been jacking up pay to try to attract job applicants and retain their existing employees. Even so, pay raises haven’t kept pace with the spike in consumer prices.

That’s why the Fed, which most economists say was much too slow to recognize the inflation threat, is now raising rates aggressively. Its goal is a notoriously difficult one: a so-called soft landing.