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US added 559,000 jobs in May as companies scrambled to hire new workers

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The US added 559,000 jobs last month — fewer than the 671,000 expected by economists — as Americans continued to emerge from the pandemic and businesses scrambled to hire new workers, the feds said Friday.

The unemployment rate ticked down to 5.8 percent, according to Friday’s much-anticipated jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s still far higher than the 50-year low of 3.5 percent reported in February before the pandemic gutted the economy.

Economists expected to see the unemployment rate fall to 5.9 percent.

Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, noted that there are a lot of kinks in the economy right now, making for unpredictable data through this summer. A nationwide shortage of workers is likely holding back some of the economic recovery as companies are forced to raise wages, with many still unable to staff up enough to meet surging demand, he noted.

A woman speaks with a potential employer during a job fair at Hembree Park in Roswell, Georgia.REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry

The new federal data follows a report Thursday from payroll processing firm ADP that showed private-sector hiring picked up at its fastest pace in almost a year in May as companies hired almost