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U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May; well short of expected labor rise

"This is progress," President Joe Biden said of Friday's labor report.

By Don Johnson
U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May; well short of expected labor rise
Friday's report came after a disappointing economic performance in April, when the jobs report missed expectations by about 700,000 jobs. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. economy added more than 550,000 jobs during the month of May, the Labor Department said in its monthly report Friday -- marking the second straight month the figure did not meet expectations.

The report showed an addition of 559,000 jobs and a decline in the unemployment rate to 5.8%. Most economists projected about 675,000 new jobs.

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The department said the greatest additions last month were seen in the leisure and hospitality, education and healthcare sectors.

"These measures are down considerably from their recent highs in April 2020 but remain well above their levels prior to the coronavirus pandemic," the department said in its report.

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Overall, the number of unemployed persons fell by 496,000 to 9.3 million, the report states.

Speaking about the new figures at the White House Friday, President Joe Biden said the drop in unemployment and job growth show the economy is making "historic progress."

"This is progress that's pulling our economy out of the worst crisis in the last 100 years," he said.

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Biden warned, though, that there will be "ups and downs" in the ongoing recovery.

"As we continue this recovery, we are going to hit some bumps along the way."

Friday's report came after a disappointing performance in April, when analysts expected about 1 million new jobs for the month. The actual figure was 266,000. In March, the economy added more than 900,000 jobs and topped expectations by close to 70,000.

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The April numbers also led to debate about a nationwide worker shortage and businesses saying they can't find enough workers.

Thursday, ADP and Moody's Analytics said 978,000 private-sector jobs were added in May and the Labor Department said 385,000 new unemployment claims were filed last week, the first time in 14 months the jobless figure was under 400,000.

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