U.S. gains disappointing 266,000 jobs in April, but all signs still point to faster hiring in months ahead

The numbers: The U.S. created just 266,000 new jobs in April even as the economy gained strength, suggesting companies might be struggling to fill open jobs even with millions of people still unemployed.

The official unemployment rate also rose to 6.1% from 6%, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday.

The increase in new jobs fell well short of Wall Street’s forecast. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal had forecast 1 million new jobs.

The disappointing employment report shaved stock gains on Friday in premarket trades.

Read: The biggest part of the economy is surging and rehiring workers

Big picture: The shortfall in new jobs in April is likely just a temporary blip. Falling coronavirus cases and massive federal stimulus have turbocharged the economy and job openings have surged. The U.S. is still set up for a summer of strong growth, especially if the virus is mostly squelched.

Read: Unemployment claims drop below 500,000 for first time since pandemic

The economy is still missing more than 8 million jobs that existed before the crisis, however, not to mention the 2 million jobs that would likely have been created had the pandemic never happened at all. It will probably take a year or two to get them all back.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
+0.93% and S&P 500


were set to open higher in Friday trades.