WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — America’s employers added 272,000 jobs in May, accelerating from April and considered a sign of economic confidence, with the Labor Department issuing numbers Friday.

A healthy job market typically propels consumer spending, the economy’s principal fuel.

And with the nation’s households continuing steady spending, many employers have had to keep hiring to meet their customer demand.

A key reason why net job growth is considered strong is that layoffs remain at historic lows. Just 1.5 million people lost jobs in April. That’s the lowest monthly figure on record — outside of the peak pandemic period — in data going back 24 years.

A related statistic, the unemployment rate, edged up 4%, from 3.9%, ending a 27-month streak of unemployment below 4%, the Labor Department said. That had matched the longest such run since the late 1960s.

Annual inflation has declined to 2.7% by the Fed’s preferred measure, which is still above the Fed’s 2% target.

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