May Jobs Report: Unemployment Rate Hits 16 Year Low

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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The U.S. economy added 138,000 new jobs in May, according to the jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday.

The labor force participation rate fell slightly to 62.7 percent during President Donald Trump’s fourth full month in office, continuing to trend at its lowest rate since the late 1970s.

The 138,000 jobs figure failed to meet Wall Street expectations of 185,000. The unemployment rate decreased slightly from April, ticking down from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent. The new unemployment numbers are the lowest in ten years, according to the Associated Press.

The Federal Reserve increased its benchmark interest rate a quarter of a point during its March 14 meeting, which was the second such increase in three months. The Fed will closely watch inflation and the jobs report when deciding whether or not to raise its rates.

“It is important for the public to understand that we’re getting closer to reaching our objectives,” Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said during a news conference following the March meeting. The Fed is expected to increase rates again in June, which would only be the fourth rate hike since the Great Recession.

The unemployment rate continued to fall and rising wage growth coupled with job gains indicate an economy on the rise, but the sluggish growth in the average hourly earnings (2.5 percent) is cause for concern.

The president has focused on manufacturing jobs, a sector that has seen steady growth since his election. The business community has been vocal in its readiness to work with the president on infrastructure, tax, and regulatory reform

The new numbers come a day after Trump announced the U.S. was exiting the Paris agreement on climate change, a decision many in the business community opposed. Major American corporations including ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips voiced their support for the climate agreement.

Employment in mining rose by 7,000 in May, with most of the increase coming in support services. The food services sector added 30,000 jobs, bringing its year over year increase to 267,000.

Job growth in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities and government, showed little change over the month.

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