Economy Slows as Employers Add Fewest Jobs in a Year

Employers added few jobs, while government employment remained mostly unchanged last month.
by | June 1, 2012 AT 1:30 PM

U.S. employers added the fewest jobs last month in a year, furthering concerns that economic growth has weakened.

The Labor Department reports employers added only 69,000 jobs in May. By comparison, nonfarm payroll employment jumped an estimated 275,000 in January and 259,000 in February.

The stagnant job growth, coupled with a labor force that expanded last month, was enough to push the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate up slightly to 8.2 percent.

The health care, transportation and warehousing industries reported some of the most sizeable gains last month. Construction jobs notably declined, with an estimated 28,000 job losses.

Many job seekers have been out of work for extended time periods. Long-term unemployed workers, considered those jobless for at least 27 weeks, now account for about 43 percent of all jobless workers, according to the Labor Department.

Government employment remained relatively unchanged for the month. State employment declined 5,000 in May after rising by the same total the previous month. On the local level, education cuts accounted for 3,300 job losses nationwide.

The weak jobs report also included revisions reflecting smaller job gains for previous months than initially reported. The Labor Department revised payroll employment growth from 154,000 to 143,000 for March and from 115,000 to 77,000 jobs for April.

State employment figures are scheduled to be released June 15.