U.S. gains 288,000 jobs; jobless rate falls to 6.3 percent

In this April 10, 2014 photo, Jennifer Stickney, a recruiter for Right at Home, which provides in-home care and assistance, answers questions from nursing students at a job fair on the campus of Kaplan University in Lincoln, Neb. The Labor Department on Friday, May 2, 2014 said U.S. employers added a robust 288,000 jobs in April, the most in two years, the strongest evidence to date that the economy is picking up after a brutal winter slowed growth.  (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) Show caption
In this April 10, 2014 photo, Jennifer Stickney, a recruiter for Right at Home, which provides in-home care and assistance, answers questions from nursing students at a job fair on the campus of Kaplan University in Lincoln, Neb. The Labor Department on Friday, May 2, 2014 said U.S. employers added a robust 288,000 jobs in April, the most in two years, the strongest evidence to date that the economy is picking up after a brutal winter slowed growth. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. unemployment rate plunged in April to its lowest level since September 2008 as employers added 288,000 jobs, the most in two years.

The figures are a clear sign that the economy is picking up after a brutal winter slowed growth.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent in March. But the drop occurred because the number of people working or seeking work fell sharply. People not seeking work aren’t counted as unemployed.

Employers also added more jobs in February and March than previously estimated. The job totals for those two months were revised up by a combined 36,000.

Job creation is accelerating: Employers added an average of 238,000 jobs the past three months. That’s up from 167,000 in the previous three.