NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The U.S. economy added far fewer jobs in May than expected, suggesting that the recovery in the employment market might be stalling.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payrolls increased by 54,000 in May, after rising by an average of 220,000 in the prior three months. Economists were expecting the payrolls to rise by 169,000, according to Briefing.com.
The private sector, which has been the main contributor of jobs amid layoffs at the state and local government levels, added 83,000 jobs, a marked slowdown from the 244,000 jobs averaged in the last three months. Economists had expected companies to add 180,000 jobs in May. This came after they had revised estimates following the ADP report Wednesday which said companies added only 38,000 jobs.
With hiring slowing dramatically in May, the unemployment rate ticked up by a tenth of a point to 9.1%, higher than the 9% economists were expecting.
In May, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 6 cents, or 0.3%, to $22.98. The average work week for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained at 34.4 hours in May.
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