WASHINGTON — Non-farm payroll employment rose 115,000 in April and the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 8.1%, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The increase in April non-farm payroll employment was the result of gains in professional and business services, retail trade and health care. Those gains were partially offset by job losses in transportation and warehousing.

The gain was lower than the median 170,000 increase estimated by economists polled by Thomson Reuters, and the 8.1% unemployment rate was below the 8.2% predicted.

The 115,000 non-farm payroll employment gain for April followed a revised 154,000 increase for March, originally reported as a gain of 120,000.

Total private payrolls were up 130,000 while government payrolls were down 15,000 in April.

Manufacturing employers added 16,000 jobs after increasing a revised 41,000 jobs in March.

Average hourly earnings were $19.72 in April, up 0.2% from $19.69 in March and 1.7% above the April 2011 figure of $19.39.

The workweek for all private workers was 33.8 hours, unchanged from March.

The Labor Department said the nation added an average of 252,000 jobs per month from December to February, but the number of unemployed workers remained largely unchanged at 12.5 million.

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