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May employment growth misses target

by Zoë Wolff

The United States added 38,000 jobs in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, well below the expected increase of approximately 160,000 jobs. Additionally, job gains during March and April were revised downward; the past two months added around 59,000 jobs fewer than previously reported. Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 116,000 per month, less than the 150,000 per month needed to keep up with population growth.

The unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage points to 4.7 percent in May primarily due to people leaving the labor force. The labor force participation rate fell 0.2 percentage points in May to 62.6 percent. There were 538,000 discouraged workers — people not currently seeking work because they believe there are no jobs available to them — in May.

The healthcare and professional and business services sectors were the only industries to see job growth in May, adding 46,000 and 10,000 jobs, respectively. 

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