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May Jobs Report: 138,000 More On Payrolls; Unemployment Dips Slightly

A "Now Hiring!" sign is displayed next to the Jiffy Lube International booth at a jobs fair in Overland Park, Kansas, in March.
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Some 138,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in May, according to the monthly jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday morning.

The national unemployment rate nudged lower, to 4.3 percent from 4.4 percent — a level that was already the lowest in 10 years when it was announced last month.

The number of unemployed Americans (6.9 million) remained essentially unchanged.

"Since January, the unemployment rate has declined by 0.5 percentage point, and the number of unemployed has decreased by 774,000," the BLS said.

The figures were announced one month after job creation was seen bouncing back in April, when the initial report said the economy had added 211,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls.

Economists had been expecting to see job gains of about 185,000, NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, with the unemployment rate holding steady.

"Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs declined by 211,000 to 3.3 million in May," according to the BLS report.

The Department of Labor also recently released more specific data about the job markets different U.S. cities are experiencing.

For metropolitan areas in April, the agency says, Ames, Iowa, and Boulder, Colo., had the lowest unemployment rates, at 1.7 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. The highest unemployment rate was in El Centro, Calif., at 19.2 percent.

For large cities (with a population over 1 million in the 2010 Census), the Denver area had the lowest unemployment rate, at 2.1 percent. The highest rate was in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, at 5.4 percent.
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Stephen George is President and CEO of Louisville Public Media. Email Stephen at sgeorge@lpm.org.