WASHINGTON (AP) — The April U.S. jobs report was an unexpected clunker. Economists had predicted a second month of nearly 1 million added jobs. Instead, to nearly everyone’s surprise, employers added a comparatively paltry 266,000. So why was the gain so low? The broadest explanation is that any time an economy has to recover from a severe shock, it isn’t likely to proceed smoothly. Month-to-month hiring will be choppy. Because the economy is rebounding faster than almost anyone thought it would, many companies were caught flat-footed. Even though they’re advertising even more jobs than they did before the pandemic, hiring stumbled in April because many employers couldn’t attract as many workers as they needed.

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