WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the May U.S. jobs report (all times local):
U.S. hiring slowed in May as employers added just 75,000 jobs, a sign that businesses may have become more cautious in the face of slowing global growth, trade fights and the fading stimulus from tax cuts and greater government spending.
The Labor Department says the modest increase follows a healthier gain of 224,000 in April. Hiring in the previous two months was revised lower by a combined 75,000. The unemployment rate remained at a nearly 50-year low of 3.6%. The job gains in May were the fewest since February.
In the first five months of this year, hiring has averaged 164,000 a month, a solid pace that is enough to lower the unemployment rate over time. Still, that’s below last year’s pace of 225,000.
Wages rose 3.1% from a year earlier, down slightly from last month’s gain of 3.2%.
With worries rising about trade wars and slower global growth, Friday’s jobs figures for May could serve as a reminder that the U.S. economy is still mostly in good shape.
Or, an unexpectedly weak employment report could intensify concerns that after a healthy first quarter, the U.S. economy is actually stumbling.
Economists have forecast that the government will report that employers added 185,000 jobs, a solid figure consistent with this year’s average monthly gain. The unemployment rate is expected to remain at a nearly 50-year low of 3.6%, according to data provider FactSet.
The economy is showing signs of sluggishness after having expanded at a healthy 3.1% annual rate in the April-June quarter. Consumers have been cautious about spending, and companies are scaling back investment in high-cost machinery and equipment.