WASHINGTON—American employers picked up the pace of hiring in April and the unemployment rate fell to a fresh half-century low, adding to signs of a healthy U.S. economy.

Nonfarm payrolls increased a seasonally adjusted 263,000 in April, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 3.6% last month, the lowest level since December 1969. Average hourly wages for private-sector workers grew 3.2% from a year earlier, matching the prior month’s increase.

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