The American economy created 217,000 new jobs in May, and the unemployment rate held steady at 6.3 percent as the number of total employed passed the pre-recession peak for the first time.
It was the fourth month in a row that payrolls topped 200,000, the first time that has occurred since January 2000. Analysts had forecast 215,000 new positions.
The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.3 percent, a six year low. The labor force participation rate was also unchanged at its 36 year low of 62.8 percent.
The workforce grew by 192,000 in May almost the same numbers as found jobs. In April 806,000 people had abandoned the search for work and were no longer counted by the Labor Department as unemployed which resulted in the unemployment rate falling by 0.4 percent to its current 6.3 percent.
The underemployment or U-6 rate which includes people working part time who want full-time employment and folks who desire work but are not actively looking, remained at 12.2 percent its lowest since October 2008.
Though the total number of people working at 138.46 million finally exceeded the prior high of 138.37 million from December 2007, the number of people not in the labor force has increased by 12.8 million in that same period to 92 million. The U.S. population has grown by approximately 17 million since the end of 2007.
Manufacturing jobs rose as forecast by 10,000 in May but the prior month's gain was revised down to 4,000 from 12,000. Average hours earning rose 0.2 percent on the month and 2.0 percent on the year. Annual inflation was 2.0 percent in April, which means that the average household had no more income to spend in May than a year earlier. Average weekly hours were static at 34.5.
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