U.S. Jobs Figures Disappoint

Job growth slowed more than expected south of the border in May. Figures released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor also showed the unemployment rate held at a near 50-year low.

The U.S. economy added just 75,000 non-farm payrolls in May. This was below expectations for 175,000 non-farm payroll additions posted by economists.

Moreover, the previous two months’ payrolls figures were downwardly revised. April’s change in non-farm payrolls positions was cut to 224,000 from 263,000, and March’s new figure was brought down to 153,000, from the 189,000 seen previously. Following the revisions, job gains averaged 151,000 per month over the past three months.

Still, the unemployment rate held at a 49-year low of 3.6%, matching consensus estimates. The labour force participation also remained unchanged at 62.8%.

Average hourly earnings held at 0.2% month-over-month, versus the slight uptick to a 0.3% pace of gains expected. Average hourly wages rose 3.1% over last year, while consensus economists anticipated that rate to hold at 3.2% from April to May.

Within the private sector, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, non-durable goods and "other services" each saw payrolls drop in May. Retail trade led declines, losing 7,600 positions between April and May. But inclusive of all non-farm payrolls, government jobs headed declines and saw a reduction of 15,000 payrolls for the month.