US employers maintained a solid pace of hiring in May, confirming the country’s economy has snapped back from unusually harsh winter winter weather earlier in the year.
Payrolls increased by 217,000, though the March and April numbers were revised down to show 6,000 fewer jobs created than previously reported.
The Labor Department said five years on the recession, employment has returned to the same level as before, with the 8.7 million jobs lost during that slump recovered.
But to put it in context, the US population has grown nearly seven percent since then.
That important milestone in the economy’s recovery came as May was the fourth straight month with job gains above 200,000.
The unemployment rate held steady at 6.3 percent of the workforce – the lowest in five and a half years – even as some Americans who had given up the search for work resumed the hunt.
The pace of hiring adds to upbeat data in areas ranging from car sales to activity in the services and factory sectors.
They suggest that US growth in this quarter will top a three percent annual pace.