US employers add modest 138000 jobs in May; rate at 4.3 percent

US job market looks solid 8 years after recession ended

Job growth slowed sharply in May to just 138,000, the Labor Department said Friday, an unexpectedly lackluster figure that could give Federal Reserve officials concern about enacting another interest rate hike this month.

Some 138,000 jobs were added to the USA economy in May, according to the monthly jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday morning.

Job gains in March were revised down to 50,000 from 79,000 while April's figures were also lowered to 174,000 from 211,000. Economists had been expecting job gains of about 185,000, NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, and to see the unemployment rate holding steady.

The consensus expectation of economists is that the Labor Department will report that employers added 176,000 jobs, according to a survey by FactSet, a data provider.

But governments, governments shed 9,000 workers, with the losses concentrated at the state and local level. The dip, he said, would not reflect the fundamentally sturdy job landscape. "But they might well influence what happens next", he said.

"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. It has dropped five-tenths of a percentage point this year. Yet the decline stemmed more from people leaving the labor force than an increase in the number of people finding work.

A hiring pullback reported in Friday's U.S.jobs data for May raises that prospect. The Fed is scheduled to hold its policy meeting on June 13-14.

The U.S. central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points in March.

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The dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a basket of major currencies, fell 0.3 percent. However analysts say the USA stands to gain more by participating in the development of renewable energy. But productivity fell 0.6 percent in the first three months of 2017, coming after persistent weakness in previous years.

Annual growth in average hourly earnings has been so-so in recent months. The Atlanta Fed is forecasting gross domestic product increasing at a 3.8 percent pace in the second quarter.

Another month of mediocre wage growth is further evidence.

That left the year-on-year increase in wages at 2.5 per cent. But with the labor market expected to hit full employment this year, there is optimism that wage growth will accelerate.

But because most of its positions are entry-level jobs geared for younger workers, the company has been able to pay them in part through bonuses rather than hourly raises.

February was the first jobs report during President Donald Trump's tenure, and since then the US economy has added 522,000 jobs. The labor-force participation rate fell to 62.7% in May from 62.9% in April. Mining - and industry President Trump has specifically said he would help revive - added 6,600 jobs last month and has risen by 47,000 since a low point last October, but most of the jobs have been in support activities, not direct mining itself. Manufacturers let go of 1,000 workers. For those who think the economy is close to capacity, last month's gains were solid.

Retailers, which have been struggling the past few months, lost 6,100 jobs in May.

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