Unemployment rate falls to 5.8%—lowest rate since pandemic erupted

U.S. employers added a solid 559,000 jobs in May, showing that the economy continues to expand as consumers and businesses resume their normal activity amid a nationwide decline in COVID-19 infections.

The nation’s unemployment rate fell to 5.8% as more jobless workers were hired and others left the labor force, meaning they were not counted as employed. That is the lowest jobless rate since March of 2020, when unemployment was 4.4%.

Leisure and hospitality companies led the gains, with 292,000 new jobs. The education sector added 140,000 jobs as schools returned to in-person learning. Employers in health care and social assistance added 46,000 jobs, while manufacturing, wholesale trade and transportation and warehouses gained about 20,000 jobs each.

The latest job figures were slightly lower than expected. Economists had predicted an increase of about 650,000 jobs last month. 

On average, employers have been adding about 450,000 jobs every month in 2021, slowly regaining ground after the coronavirus last year led to historic job losses. 

There are still about 7.6 million fewer employed workers today than in February of last year, before the pandemic.

This is a developing story.

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