U.S. Nonfarm Payrolls Rise 217K in May; Jobless Rate Stays at 6.3 Percent

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Nonfarm employment in the U.S. gained 217,000 in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Labor Department’s report released Friday.

The increase in April was revised down to a gain of 282,000 from a previously reported increase of 288,000. The improvement in April was the highest in over two years. The gain of 203,000 in March was unrevised.

Total U.S. payrolls in May climbed to 138.5 million, surpassing the nation’s previous high of employment recorded in January 2008.

The unemployment rate, based on data collected in a separate survey of households, stayed flat at 6.3 percent in May, matching the lowest reading since September 2008. Last month, the number of people with jobs and the total civilian labor force both recorded an increase.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had estimated payrolls to increase by 210,000 and the unemployment rate to rise to 6.4 percent. Analysts projected job growth to decline from April because some of the growth was partially attributed to hiring delayed by the severe winter weather.

Friday’s results showed the percentage of U.S. workers participating in the labor force stayed firm at 62.8 percent in May. The labor force participation rate dropped 0.4 percentage point in April from the previous month.

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