May 4, 2007 9:30 AM, EDT

Payrolls Rise Less Than Forecast; Unemployment Rate Rises to 4.5%

U.S. payrolls rose by 88,000 in April and the unemployment rate rose to 4.5% from 4.4% in March, the Labor Department said Friday.

The jobs’ gain was below economists’ forecasts of 100,000 new jobs, as employers added the fewest jobs in two years and reductions spread beyond manufacturers and homebuilders, Bloomberg reported.

Manufacturing payrolls fell by 19,000 jobs following an 18,000 decline. Economists had forecast manufacturing jobs to fall by 14,000.

Service industries added 116,000 jobs in April, Labor said.

The unemployment-rate gauge is based on a survey of households. The number of payroll jobs added is determined by a separate survey of business and government establishments.

Because employment levels drive so much economic activity, an increase in employment can help consumer confidence and spending patterns, which affect trucking demand.