The unemployment rate for May was little changed at 4.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 138,000.
Approximately 6.9 million people are unemployed, 774,000 fewer than in January. The number of long-term unemployed was essentially unchanged over the month at 1.7 million.
Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae, said today that the report shows the labor market has lost some steam.
“This report, combined with other factors including declines in auto sales, raises questions about the recent hawkish tone of Fed officials, who have hinted at potentially more rate hikes and a start of the process of balance-sheet shrinking this year,” Duncan said.
Long-term unemployed account for 24 percent of the jobless. Unemployment for whites edged down to 3.7 percent in May. The rate for blacks was 7.5 percent. Unemployment for Asians stands at 3.6 percent, and the rate for Hispanics is 5.2 percent.
Employment in health care rose by 24,000 in May. Hospitals added 7,000 jobs over the month, and employment in ambulatory health care services continued to trend up. Mining added 7,000 jobs in May. Employment in food services and drinking places was up by 30,000, and it has grown by 267,000 over the past 12 months.
In May, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents to $26.22. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 63 cents, or 2.5 percent.