Economy

U.S. job growth stumbles in May, unemployment rate dips to 4.3%

U.S. job growth stumbles in May, unemployment rate dips to 4.3%

Job growth slowed last month, according to this morning's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 138,000 in May, setting the unemployment rate at 4.3 percent, .

Economists described the data as "soft", and the value of the dollar fell against a range of currencies amid the modest pay data and downward revisions to job growth in previous months. Employers added just 138,000 jobs last month, missing analysts' expectations for a 185,000 gain.

"The weak job growth number isn't a disaster because it still keeps up with population growth", Paul Diggle, senior economist at Aberdeen Asset Management, told Reuters. Job growth in health care has averaged 22,000 per month thus far in 2017, compared with an average monthly gain of 32,000 in 2016. However, the gains were enough to help nudge the unemployment rate down to a 16 year-low.

The report came one day after the Institute for Supply Management's May Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) bumped up one-tenth of a point from April to 54.9, pointing to continued expansion for American manufacturing. Yet the decline stemmed more from people leaving the labor force than an increase in the number who found jobs.

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The Federal Reserve's interest rate was also much higher - 4.5% - than today's rate of about 1%.

US employers slowed hiring in May by adding a modest 138,000 jobs; unemployment dips to 4.3 pct.

Average hourly earnings, year-on-year: 2.6%.

Still, the jobs report produces several different measures of unemployment.

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The White House has hailed the rosier jobs reports in recent months and President Donald Trump has vowed to add 25 million new jobs to the economy over a decade.

The U.S. economy is expected to grow at a 4.0 percent annualized pace in the second quarter based on the latest data on factory activity, construction and consumer spending released this week, the Atlanta Federal Reserve's GDP Now forecast model showed. Average hourly earnings for those on non-farm payrolls rose 4 cents to $26.22.

Fed officials indicated last week a rate hike would be likely if the economy stayed on track.

The Trump administration has designated the pace of hiring for good-paying skilled jobs in construction, manufacturing and mining as among the key categories it monitors for economic health. USA workers have yet to see a big pick up in wages. Ford Motor Co said last month it planned to cut 1,400 salaried jobs in North America and Asia through voluntary early retirement and other financial incentives. Retail employment fell 6,100, declining for a fourth straight month.

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