Unemployment Rate Rises To 7.6% As Economy Shows Modest Job Growth

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in May, according to data released today by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, but that wasn’t enough to keep the nation’s unemployment rate from increasing to 7.6 percent, up from 7.5 percent the previous month.

In addition, the bureau revised job growth figures for March and April, lowering previously-reported employment gains by a combined 12,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate for teens (24.5 percent), blacks (13.5 percent) and Hispanics (9.1 percent) were significantly higher than the overall unemployment rate, but showed little or no change in May.

Overall, 11.8 million American workers are counted unemployed, with 4.4 million jobless for 27 weeks or more. The civilian labor force rose by 420,000 to 155.7 million in May; however, the labor force participation rate was little changed at 63.4 percent. In March and April, the labor force participation rate was 63.3, a level not previously seen since 1979.

Professional and business services added 57,000 jobs in May. Within this industry, employment continued to trend up in temporary help services (+26,000), computer systems design and related services (+6,000), and architectural and engineering services (+5,000). Employment in professional and business services has grown by 589,000 over the past year.

Within leisure and hospitality, employment in food services and drinking places continued to expand, increasing by 38,000 in May and by 337,000 over the past year.

Retail trade employment increased by 28,000 in May. The industry added an average of 20,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months. In May, general merchandise stores continued to add jobs (+10,000).

Health care employment continued to trend up in May (+11,000). Job gains in home health care services (+7,000) and outpatient care centers (+4,000) more than offset a loss in hospitals (-6,000). Over the prior 12 months, job growth in health care averaged 24,000 per month.

Within government, federal government employment declined by 14,000 in May. Over the past 3 months, federal government employment has decreased by 45,000.

Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, and financial activities, showed little or no change over the month.

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