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The government reported Friday that the civilian unemployment rate climbed sharply to 5.3 percent in April, another indication that the economy is slowing under the weight of higher interest rates.

The Labor Department said the number of new non-agricultural jobs created during the month was 115,000, compared with the March increase of 180,000 jobs, when the unemployment rate hit a 15-year low of 5 percent. The 115,000 new jobs were well below the average monthly increase of 300,000 jobs during the past year.Economists had expected more than 200,000 new jobs to be created during April. The April job increase was the worst performance since June 1986, when the economy lost 92,000 jobs. The 5.3 percent unemployment rate was the highest since January when the rate stood at 5.4 percent.