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Economy adds 217,000 jobs in May

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WASHINGTON (June 6, 2014) — U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased by 217,000 jobs in May 2014, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The unemployment rate held steady at 6.3 percent, the BLS said.

The job sectors with the biggest gains were professional and business services and healthcare, each with 55,000 jobs. Solid gains were also reported in food services and drinking places (32,000 jobs) and transportation and warehousing (16,000 jobs).

However, other sectors saw little change, including construction, wholesale trade and retail trade. Manufacturing also was little changed, the BLS said, but durable goods manufacturing added 17,000 jobs in May, and the entire manufacturing sector added a 105,000 jobs over the past year.

Issuing the results of its most recent economic survey just ahead of the new BLS employment figures, the National Federation for Independent Business (NFIB) said there is some cause for hope on the employment front.

“Although (small business) owners reporting job openings are 10 points below the record high, it is holding at the highest level seen since mid-2007, suggesting that labor markets might be tighter than the unemployment rate suggests,” said NFIB Chief Economist William C. Dunkelberg.

Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, saw less cause for hope in the manufacturing sector.

“Though the economy has finally recovered the number of jobs lost during the recession, the manufacturing sector hasn’t even made it one-third of the way back,” Mr. Paul said.

“A look at our trade picture’s weak exports and surging imports gives us one clue as to why manufacturing is lagging,” he said. “The administration and Congress should help level the playing field for our manufacturers and workers by stopping currency manipulation, enforcing our trade laws and making smart investments in infrastructure.”

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