US employers add modest 138K jobs; rate dips to 4.3 percent

Staff Writer

U.S. employers pulled back on hiring in May by adding only 138,000 jobs. Hiring was still enough to help keep pushing unemployment lower.
The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent from 4.4 percent. But the rate declined mainly because people stopped looking for work last month and so were no longer counted as unemployed.
The government's report suggested that eight years into the recovery from the Great Recession, job growth may be slowing after a long period of robust gains. Besides the hiring pullback in May, the government on Friday revised down its estimate of job growth in March and April by a combined 66,000. Job gains have averaged 121,000 over the past three months, compared with an average of 181,000 over the past 12 months.
Employers are now choosing from among a smaller pool of job applicants, and some are having trouble finding people with the skills they need. Average hourly earnings have risen a middling 2.5 percent over the past year.

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