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US Jobs Growth Stalls in May

clothing store

American employers added only 38,000 nonfarm jobs in May, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday.

That figure was a lot less than the 158,000 that analysts expected and the fewest in more than five years. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called the jobs report “terrible” and a “bombshell” in a post on Twitter.

Though the unemployment rate declined from 5 percent to 4.7 percent in May, it was because 538,000 people said they were not currently looking for work because they believed no jobs were available to them, so were no longer officially considered to be unemployed.

Plus, the number of people employed part time for economic reasons (involuntary part-time workers) increased by 468,000 to 6.4 million in May, after showing little movement since November. According to the report, one of the reasons those people who would have preferred full-time employment were working on a part-time basis was because their hours had been cut back.

To make matters worse, the numbers for March and April were revised, meaning that employment gains in those months combined were 59,000 less than previously reported. To that end, only 116,000 jobs on average were added per month over the past three.

In retail, clothing and accessories stores reported a decline of 4,100 jobs in May. General merchandise stores added 8,200 positions but within that category department stores laid off 2,100 people.

In the manufacturing sector, textile mills lost 700 jobs while textile product mills gained 400. Apparel manufacturers posted a decline of 700 jobs.

Alan MacEachin, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union, told the Wall Street Journal that employers were retracing their steps after robust hiring earlier in the year that hurt earnings when sales didn’t meet expectations.

“Employers may also be investing in labor-saving technology to address a tightening jobs market,” he added.