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Unemployment fell in April in most metro areas

WASHINGTON — The best month for private-sector hiring in five years and a pickup in summer jobs helped lower unemployment rates in more than 90 percent of the nation’s largest cities in April.

The unemployment rate dropped in 339 metro areas in April, the Labor Department said. It rose in 20 cities and remained unchanged in 13. It was the most cities to see a decline in a year.

Many of the areas with the steepest declines are tourist destinations, such as Ocean City, N.J., where hotels and tourist attractions add workers for the summer season. The metro employment data isn’t seasonally adjusted for such trends and as a result can be volatile from month to month.

Salinas, Calif., which is near tourist destinations Monterey and Carmel, reported the sharpest decline. Unemployment there fell from 16.5 percent in March to 12.6 percent in April.

Barnstable Town, Mass., near Cape Cod, said its unemployment rate dropped from 10.5 percent to 8.2 percent, the third-steepest decline. New Bedford, Mass., near Martha’s Vineyard, said its rate fell from 12.6 percent to 10.7 percent, the fifth-steepest drop.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate ticked up in April to 9 percent and U.S. companies added 268,000 jobs in April, the third month in which the private sector created more than 200,000 jobs.

The government will release the May employment report on Friday. The consensus forecast is that the economy added 180,000 net jobs last month and the unemployment rate dipped to 8.9 percent.

But many economists are lowering their individual forecasts after a spate of weak economic data, including a report Wednesday from payroll processor ADP that the private sector added only 38,000 jobs last month.

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