There are fresh signs today that the economy is picking up after a brutal winter slowed growth.

The Labor Department says employers added 288,000 jobs in April.

The nation's unemployment rate dropped to 6.3 percent. While that's the lowest level in five years, it was due mainly to the exodus of people who stopped looking for work. People not seeking work aren't counted as unemployed.

Employers also added more jobs in February and March than previously estimated. The job totals for those two months were revised up by a combined 36,000.

The Commerce Departments says orders to U.S. factories advanced strongly for a second month. March orders rose 1.1 percent, with orders for capital goods jumping 3.5 percent. Capital goods are considered a good proxy for business investment.

President Barack Obama hails April jobs growth but says Congress must still do more to help American workers, including raising the minimum wage and creating more construction jobs by approving public works projects.

Obama praised the, quote, ``grit and determination'' of Americans for the economic improvement.