Report: US Economy Gains Just 54,000 New Jobs

Posted June 3rd, 2011 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. economy had a net gain of just 54,000 jobs in May, the smallest increase since last September.

Friday's report from the Labor Department shows the unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percent to hit 9.1 percent. The figures surprised many economists who were expecting a slightly lower jobless rate, and a bigger gain in the number of jobs.

Budget problems prompted state and local government to cut 29,000 jobs. Manufacturing cut a small number of positions, while health care added 17,000 employees.

The U.S. economy destroys and creates millions of jobs every month as resources and workers are re-allocated to more profitable areas. Experts say the economy would have to show a monthly net gain of at least 200,000 jobs to cut the jobless rate significantly.

Today's data show just under 14 million Americans are unemployed. There are millions more people who want full-time work, but can find only part-time jobs.

The disappointing economic report drew immediate criticism from opposition Republicans who said President Obama has no clear plan to create jobs. House Speaker John Boehner said raising taxes on the wealthy would hurt the employment situation.

A key economic advisor to Mr. Obama says the Administration has cut some taxes and increased incentives for investment. Austan Goolsbee says these actions have helped the private sector create 2.1 million jobs in the past 15 months. He calls the latest unemployment report one of the “bumps” on the road to recovery. He also called the unemployment rate “unacceptably high.”