The headline US unemployment rate was 4.3 percent, down from 4.4 percent in April, the BLS reported.
This wobble might not be serious enough to stop the Fed hiking interest rates this month, but the U.S. economy certainly doesn't appear as strong as record-high stock markets and other indicators would lead you to believe.
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But manufacturers, retailers and governments shed workers last month. It led the Fed to cancel its plans of raising rates last June.
Wages are up, but not as much as might be expected, he added. Employers in a number of industries say they're having trouble filling positions.
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. But slowing hiring and softer inflation readings may give some officials pause.
While the number of new jobs created in May was below the 180,000 that economists had been expecting, the United States has now added jobs for 80 consecutive months. With total growth dipping to a mere 138,000 jobs added for May, the slowdown equates to a 20 percent speed bump.More news: Lions prioritise test wins after arriving in New Zealand
US financial markets have nearly priced in a 25 basis points increase in the Fed's benchmark overnight interest rate this month, according to CME FedWatch. Those three sectors were relatively weak in April.
The labor market was largely expected to return to form last month after volatile weather made for sharp gyrations the first five months of the year.
Average hourly earnings increased by 0.2% from April and rose by 2.5% year-on-year. That figure is well below the 3 or 4 percent growth typical of earlier economic recoveries and throws into question the understood relationship between unemployment and pay (as one drops, the other typically rises).
Last month, hiring was improved in the construction sector and was relatively strong in health care.
However, a litany of factors, such as consumer spending and interest rates, influence hiring decisions.
While this was partly due to people dropping out of the workforce, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' broadest measure of unemployment, which includes workers in part-time jobs looking for full-time employment, dropped to 8.4pc from 8.6pc.
The survey of households from which the unemployment rate is derived also showed a drop in employment. The U-6 rate has seen a lot of improvement in that time, and has finally neared its historical average.