Payrolls rose 339,000 in May, much better than expected in resilient labor market


The U.S. economy continued to crank out jobs in May, with nonfarm payrolls surging more than expected despite multiple headwinds, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Payrolls in the public and private sector increased by 339,000 for the month, better than the 190,000 Dow Jones estimate and marking the 29th straight month of positive job growth.

The unemployment rate was at 3.7% against the estimate for 3.5%, just above the lowest level since 1969.

Despite waves of layoffs hitting some of the nation’s largest tech employers, the unemployment rate fell to a 54-year low of 3.4% in January and has remained near historically low levels this year. Job cuts, however, have only become more widespread, with Disney and consulting firm Accenture among those cutting thousands of jobs last month. Employment growth is strong, but "fragmented," Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, said in a Thursday statement. The payroll processor reported private employers added a better-than-expected 278,000 last month; however, it also noted pay growth is "slowing substantially" despite the robust hiring, as leisure and hospitality jobs led gains, while manufacturing and finance lost jobs.

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