Posted: 05/08/2009 - Layoffs slow to 539K in April; jobless rate rises Eds: APNewsNow. Will be led. Moving on general news and financial services. By JEANNINE AVERSA AP Economics Writer WASHINGTON (AP) -- The pace of layoffs slowed in April, with employers cutting 539,000 jobs, the fewest in six months. But the unemployment rate climbed to 8.9 percent as many businesses remained wary of hiring given all the economic and financial uncertainties. The Labor Department tally wasn't nearly as deep as the 620,000 job losses that economists were expecting. The rise in the unemployment rate from 8.5 percent in March matched economists' forecasts. If laid-off workers who have given up looking for new jobs or have settled for part-time work are included, the unemployment rate would have been 15.8 percent in April, the highest on records dating back to 1994.