WASHINGTON, DC—US employment rose by 288,000, and the unemployment rate dropped by 0.4 of a percentage point to 6.3% last month,  the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning. Sectors posting job growth were wide ranging, with gains in professional and business services, retail trade, food services and construction.

The report follows a disconcerting one from the Commerce Departmentthat the US economy grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.1% in the first quarter—a far cry from the 1.2% increase that Wall Street had been predicting. It has been suggested that the anemic growth was due to the harsh winter weather in the first three months of the year, a theory that gains currency with this morning’s job report.

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