In yet another sign that the nation's economy is mired in a slow recovery, the U.S. Department of Labor reported this morning that only 69,000 non-farm jobs were added to payrolls in May, the smallest gain in a year. As a result, the nation's unemployment rate went back up, to 8.2 percent, the first increase since June 2011. Economists had guessed that the jobless rate would remain at 8.1 percent.
The Labor Department said private companies accounted for all of the growth in payrolls, while local, state and federal governments cut payrolls by 13,000.
Employment increased in health care, transportation and warehousing, wholesale trade and manufacturing. The construction industry lost 28,000 jobs.
Average wages inched ahead by 2 cents to $23.41 an hour, while an average workweek slid by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours.