Employers hired far fewer workers last month than had been expected, and the unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a point to 9.1 percent in May.
Nonfarm employers added 54,000 jobs last month, the fewest since September, and private employers added only 83,000, the fewest since last June, according to the Labor Department. Government payrolls, meanwhile, fell 29,000.
But Reuters reports that economists had expected payrolls to rise 150,000 and private hiring to increase 175,000. The Labor Department also revised employment figures for March and April to show 39,000 fewer jobs were created than previously estimated.
Still, it wasn't all bad news. The labor force participation rate in May remained the same, and the number of workers who have stopped actively looking for a job and those not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available both decreased slightly in May. Workers are also making more money on average, with hourly earnings increasing to $22.98 on average, 6 cents more compared to last month.
A closer look, though, reveals a seriously dangerous underlying problem: workers who have been jobless for 27 weeks or longer now make up 6.2 million or 44.6 percent of unemployed Americans – an increase of 360,000 since May.