The U.S. economy picked up 115,000 jobs in April as the politically important unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent, the Labor Department reported on Friday.
The number comes on the heels of initially reported payroll growth of just 120,000 in March, a disappointing result following three months of over-200,000 growth. Economists will take the April report as another sign that the recovery is slowing, as it did in the previous two springs.
The number failed to meet expectations, with economists surveyed by Reuters expecting payroll growth of 170,000. Growth in February and March, however, were both revised upwards.
With weak jobs growth and a drop in the unemployment rate, the latest report should offer campaign fodder for both parties.