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America’s employers added a robust 253,000 jobs in April, evidence of a labor market that still shows surprising strength despite rising interest rates, chronically high inflation and a banking crisis that could weaken the economy.

The unemployment rate ticked down to 3.4%, matching a 54-year low. Last month’s hiring gain compared with 165,000 in March and 248,000 in February, and is at a level considered vigorous by historical standards.

The job market has remained strong despite the Federal Reserve’s aggressive campaign of interest rate hikes over the past year to fight inflation. Layoffs are still relatively low, job openings comparatively high. Still, the ever-higher borrowing costs the Fed has engineered have weakened some key sectors of the economy, notably the housing market.

Since hitting a four-decade high last year, inflation has steadily eased yet is still well above the Fed’s 2% target level.

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