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Employers added 217,000 jobs in May

Justin Sullivan

U.S. employers added 217,000 jobs in May, the Labor Department reported Friday. That's almost exactly in line with consensus expectations, which had been around 213,000. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained unchanged, at 6.3 percent.

The only industries that subtracted jobs last month were information industry, which includes telecommunications, as well as publishing. That industry lost 5,000 jobs. Nondurable goods manufacturing also lost 7,000 jobs, but manufacturing as a whole grew by 10,000. Meanwhile, healthcare and social assistance helped lead the way in job growth, with nearly 55,000 new jobs. That industry has been a bright spot in the recovery, with virtually uninterrupted growth throughout the recession. The broad professional and business services category, which includes workers like accountants and lawyers, also grew by 55,000 workers.

The labor force participation rate also held steady in May, at 62.8 percent. This measure has been closely watched since the recession, as it measures the share of the population either working or looking for work. As the jobless rate measures the share of the labor force looking for jobs but not finding them, a change in the participation rate can sway that rate. The participation rate is currently far below where it was prior to the downturn, but demographic factors like retiring Baby Boomers may account for that decline, not just a poor economy.

March and April's relatively strong payrolls numbers also remained steady in this report. March's figure remained unchanged after revisions, at 203,000, and April's figure only fell by 6,000, to 282,000.