© 2021 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jobs Report Shows Slight Increase In Unemployment Rate

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Here's something more positive that came from the government today, the jobs report for May. Two hundred eighty thousand jobs were added to payrolls and there was a healthy increase in wages. Wages have been virtually stagnant since the U.S. came out of the Great Recession.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Hourly earnings were up by eight cents in May to an average of nearly $25 an hour.

JASON FURMAN: When I get this report, one of the first things I turn to is what's going on with wages after jobs. Those are the two things to look at, and both of them came in better than expected this month.

CORNISH: That Jason Furman at the White House today. He's the president's chief economist.

SIEGEL: Now, the unemployment rate actually went up a bit to five-and-a-half percent. On the surface, that may not sound positive, but this time, it is. When more people are drawn into the labor force, as occurred in May, there are more people working and more people looking for work, and it's a good thing.

FURMAN: We saw a big increase in labor force participation. And most of the people coming in got jobs, and you know, that's always good to see.

CORNISH: Good to see because things nearly went off the rails in the first quarter. Growth vanished. GDP went negative. Economists say the new numbers put to rest concerns that this weakness could follow us into the summer. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.