* Nonfarm payrolls forecast to increase 978,000 in April
* Leisure and hospitality seen leading employment gains
* Unemployment rate seen falling to 5.8% from 6.0%
* Average hourly earnings forecast flat; workweek steady
By Lucia Mutikani
WASHINGTON, May 7 (Reuters) – U.S. employers likely hired nearly a million workers in April as they rushed to meet a surge in demand, unleashed by the reopening of the economy amid rapidly improving public health and massive financial help from the government.
The Labor Department’s closely watched employment report on Friday will be the first to show the impact of the White House’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 pandemic rescue package, which was approved in March. It is likely to show the economy entered the second quarter with even greater momentum, firmly putting it on track this year for its best performance in almost four decades.
“We are looking for a pretty good figure, reflecting the ongoing reopening we have seen,” said…