US adds 272,000 jobs in May, blowing past expectations

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The U.S. economy added 272,000 jobs in May, and the unemployment rate ticked slightly higher to 4 percent, according to new Labor Department data released Friday.

The May jobs report was far hotter than the expectations of economists, who projected a gain of 185,000 jobs and no movement from the April jobless rate of 3.9 percent.

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The slight increase in the jobless rate, however, breaks the longest streak of sub-4 percent unemployment since the 1960s.

The May jobs report comes as the Federal Reserve prepares to vote on interest rates next week. The central bank has maintained rates at a range of 5.25 to 5.5 percent since July 2023, and hopes are low that it will start cutting rates this month.

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The Fed raised interest rates to their current two-decade high in an effort to tamp down on 40-year high inflation. After peaking at 9.1 percent in June 2022, inflation has eased significantly, falling to 3.4 percent in April.

However, as inflation remains stubbornly above target, the central bank has repeatedly held rates steady.

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