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U.S. Job Growth Slows Much More Than Expected In May

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Job growth in the U.S. showed a substantial slowdown in the month of May, according to a closely watched report released by the Labor Department on Friday.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment rose by 75,000 jobs in May after soaring by a downwardly revised 224,000 jobs in April.

Economists had expected employment to increase by about 185,000 jobs compared to the jump of 263,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The much weaker than expected job growth came a modest increases in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and healthcare jobs were partly offset by a drop in retail employment.

Meanwhile, the report said the unemployment rate came in at 3.6 percent in May, unchanged from the previous month and in line with economist estimates.

The unemployment rate remained at a nearly 50-year low as a 113,000-person increase in the household survey measure of employment was offset by a 176,000-person jump in the size of the labor force.

"The soft 75,000 gain in non-farm payrolls in May wasn't quite as bad as the dismal ADP employment reading earlier this week but, along with the downward revisions to previous months, it is another sign that economic growth is slowing," said Andrew Hunter, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

He added, "On balance, we still think Fed officials will want to see evidence of more sustained weakness before taking action, but we are increasingly convinced that the Fed will begin cutting interest rates later this year."

Despite the historically low unemployment rate, the report also showed average hourly employees earnings edged up just $0.06 or 0.2 percent to $27.83 in May.

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