U.S. job growth slows while jobless rate holds at 50-year low

The pace of job growth in the United States slowed in May, but the unemployment rate remains at its lowest level in nearly 50 years.

According to the latest Labor Department estimates, nonfarm payrolls increased 75,000. The jobless rate held steady at 3.6 percent, the lowest reading since December 1969.

The payroll gain for May was smaller than those for April and March, even after initial estimates for those two months were revised downward. The gain for April was revised down 39,000 to 224,000. The gain for March was revised down 36,000 to 153,000.

Given the latest numbers, payrolls have increased an average of 164,000 a month so far in 2019. Payroll gains averaged 223,000 a month in 2018.

For May, 5.9 million people were counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work. Of those, 1.3 million have been out of work 27 weeks or more.

Another 4.4 million people were counted among those working part-time because their hours were cut or they were unable to find full-time positions.

The labor participation rate remained unchanged at 62.8 percent.

Payroll gains for May were spread out among a number of industry sectors. Professional and business services added 33,000 jobs, while health care payrolls increased 16,000 and construction employment rose 4,000. Government payrolls decreased 15,000.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls held steady at 34.4 hours. The average manufacturing workweek remained unchanged at 40.6 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 6 cents to $27.83. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have increased 3.1 percent.