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0 UNEMPLOYMENT UP TO 9.9%

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The hiring of 66,000 temporary government workers to conduct the census helped overall payroll growth last month. However, private employers -- the backbone of the economy -- boosted jobs, too. They added a surprisingly strong 231,000 positions last month, also the most since March 2006, the Labor Department reported Friday. The unemployment rate rose from 9.7 percent in March to 9.9 percent in April, mainly because 805,000 jobseekers -- perhaps feeling better about their prospects -- resumed their searches for work. Many economists have predicted the unemployment rate would rise as people come back into the labor force. The jobless rate hit 10.1 percent in October, a 26-year high.

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