WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added more than 200,000 jobs in April for the third straight month, the biggest hiring spree in five years. But the unemployment rate rose to 9 percent in part because some people resumed looking for work.

The Labor Department says the economy added 244,000 jobs last month. Private employers shrugged off high gas prices and created 268,000 jobs — the most since February 2006.

African-American unemployment rose from 15.5 to 16.1 and the the black teen jobless rate went down slightly from 42.1 to 41.6 percent.

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The gains were widespread. Retailers, factories, financial companies, education and health care and even construction companies all added jobs. Federal, state and local governments cut jobs.

The data suggest businesses are confident in the economy despite weak growth earlier this year.

Still, unemployment increased slightly from the 8.8 percent in March. It was the first increase since November.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.