US Economic Recovery Struggles to Gain Momentum

Posted June 1st, 2011 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. economic recovery is struggling to gain momentum, with new reports showing slower growth in job creation and the manufacturing sector.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday private companies added only 38,000 jobs in May. ADP also said fewer private sector jobs had been created in April than previously thought.

A separate survey by the job staffing company Challenger, Gray & Christmas said U.S. employers announced more than 37,000 layoffs in May, up from the month before.

A survey of U.S. factories found the manufacturing sector is also slowing, expanding at its most sluggish pace in more than a year.

The Institute for Supply Management's factory index fell to 53.5 last month, down from 60.4 in April, hitting its lowest level since September 2009.

The U.S. economy has cooled over the first few months of 2011, growing at just a 1.8 percent pace in the first quarter. Sluggish job growth has been adding to the concerns.

Many economists look at the ADP report as an indicator of what the more comprehensive government-issued employment report will say. That report from the Labor Department is due out Friday.

Last month the U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly, to hit 9 percent.

Still, the jobs report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas said there were fewer announced layoffs in May compared to the same time last year. And Chief Executive John Challenger said the relatively small number of layoffs shows most employers are not worried about the long-term health of the U.S. economy.

A fourth report Wednesday found construction spending edged higher from March to April. The Commerce Department said the sector was boosted by an increase in home remodeling projects.