U.S. job growth slowest to lowest level since 2010

Job growth in the United States has slowed to its lowest level in nearly six years as payroll gains in some sectors were offset by layoffs and a strike in other sectors.

According to the latest Labor Department estimates, nonfarm payrolls increased only 38,000 in May. That’s the smallest monthly gain since September 2010.

The unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a point to 4.7 percent, the lowest proportion since November 2007. But the decrease was attributed in part to people dropping out of the labor force.

Initial estimates for payroll gains in April and March also were revised downward a total of 59,000. Using the latest numbers, job growth has averaged 116,000 a month over the past three months.

The number of people counted among the long-term unemployed who’ve been out of work 27 weeks or longer fell 178,000 to 1.9 million in May. Another 6.4 million people were counted among those working part-time because their hours have been cut back or they’re unable to find full-time positions.

The civilian labor force participation rate fell two-tenths of a point to 62.6 percent.

Health care employment continued to trend up with the addition of 46,000 jobs in May. Professional and business services added 10,000 jobs.

Payrolls in the information sector dropped 34,000. About 35,000 Verizon workers were on strike and not on company payrolls.

Manufacturers cut payrolls 18,000, while mining employment continued to decline with the loss of another 10,000 jobs.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls held steady at 34.4 hours. The manufacturing workweek edged up a tenth of an hour to 40.8 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose 5 cents to $25.59. Over the past year, earnings have increased 2.5 percent.