The US economy added far fewer jobs than expected in May. The number of people in work rose by 431,000.
That is the best increase in 10 years but economists had expected a rise of over half a million and many of the extra jobs – 390,000 – were because of temporary hiring by the government of people to conduct the US census.
Having drifted back up to 9.9 percent of the working population in April, the jobless total fell again to 9.7 percent, which was better than forecast.
The construction industry lost 35,000 jobs.
Overall private employment, which is a good gauge of the strength of the labour market, increased by just 41,000 after rising 218,000 in April as employers opted to increase hours rather than hire new workers.
The dominant services sector enjoyed the biggest increase at 37,000.
Job growth is critical to sustain a rebound in consumer spending.
The jobless rate is a drag on President Barack Obama’s popularity and unemployment will probably remain high for the rest of this year as the millions of people who lost their jobs during the recession seek work.