By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ
NEW YORK TIMES
[MAY 2, 2014] The American economy picked up steam in April, as employers added 288,000 jobs while the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent, the lowest level since September 2008.
After a sharp slowdown in job growth in December and January, and a modest improvement since then, economists had been forecasting a healthy gain for April as consumer and business activity rose in tandem with temperatures in many parts of the country.
But the good news was tempered by a drop of 806,000 in the number of Americans in the labor force, pushing the labor participation rate down sharply. And despite the fall in joblessness, average hourly earnings were flat.