Total non-farm employment rose by 175,000 jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said, reporting that both the number of unemployed people, at 11.8 million, and the unemployment rate were essentially unchanged in May from April.
The jobs report "provides further confirmation that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression," Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger said
"It is critical that we remain focused on pursuing policies to speed job creation and expand the middle class as we continue to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007," Krueger said in a blog.
As the recovery gains traction, he said, "now is not the time for Washington to impose self-inflicted wounds on the economy."
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates showed little or no change for adult men, 7.2 percent; adult women, 6.5 percent; teens, 24.5 percent; whites, 6.7 percent; blacks, 13.5 percent; and Hispanics, 9.1 percent.
The BLS said the number of long-term unemployed -- those jobless for 27 weeks or more -- was unchanged at 4.4 million and accounted for 37.3 percent of the unemployed.
In May, the number of people employed part time for economic reasons was unchanged at 7.9 million, the Labor Department said.
About 2.2 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, down from 2.4 million a year earlier. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks before the survey, the BLS said.