The U.S. economy added 280,000 jobs in May, surpassing the 235,000 estimate from Briefing.com, and rising above
an average monthly gain of 251,000 over the prior 12 months, while the unemployment level rose slightly to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent last month, a 7 year low, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning.
The combined change in employment over the last 2 months was revised higher by 32,000. March was revised from 85,000 to 119,000 and April was revised slightly lower from 223,000 to 221,000.
During the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 207,000 per month.
The labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.9 percent in May.
Job gains were most noticeable in leisure and hospitality which increased by 57,000 in May followed by health care which added 47,000 in May and retail which saw increases of 31,000.
Employment in mining dropped for the fifth month in a row, with a decline of 17,000 in May.
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls in May rose by 8 cents to $24.96. During the past year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.3 percent.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payroll was steady at 34.5 hours in May.
On Wednesday private payroll processor ADP reported that the U.S. economy added 201,000 private sector jobs which was slightly above the consensus forecast of 200,000.