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Fewer new jobs than expected in May

WASHINGTON, June 3 (UPI) -- The Labor Department said Friday the U.S. economy gained 54,000 jobs in May, far less than economists had expected.

The critical employment situation report said the unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.1 percent. But economists expected as many as 190,000 jobs would be added following April's 232,000 jobs added.

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"There are always bumps on the road to recovery, but the overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years," said Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said the jobs added were "far too few to absorb new entrants into the labor force."

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"Too many in Washington continue to clamor for harmful spending cuts to advance their own political interests," Trumka said.

The department said the number of unemployed persons grew from 13.7 million to 13.9 million, leaving the unemployment rate for adult men at 8.9 percent and the rate for women 8 percent. About 24 percent of teenagers are unemployed. Among blacks, the unemployment rate is more than twice the rate for whites, 16.2 percent versus 8 percent.

The number of unemployed for 27 weeks or longer also increased, jumping by 361,000 in May to 6.2 million.

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Jobs were added in the mining sector, which gained 7,000 positions. Healthcare jobs rose by 17,000. Professional and business services added 44,000 jobs.

But manufacturing lost 5,000 jobs and jobs in local government dropped by 28,000.

The average hours worked held at 34.4 and factory overtime remained at an average of 3.2 hours. Non-farm hourly earnings rose by 6 cents to $22.98 per hour.

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