Report: US Economy Gains Just 54,000 New Jobs

Posted June 3rd, 2011 at 2:35 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.S. economy had a net gain of only 54,000 jobs in May, the smallest increase since last September.

Friday's report from the Labor Department shows the unemployment rate rose slightly to hit 9.1 percent. The figures surprised many economists who were expecting the jobless rate to decline a little bit 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.

Friday'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.

In an effort to showcase his efforts to improve the job situation, U.S. President Barack Obama traveled to an auto factory on Friday. In a speech in Toledo, Ohio, he said government efforts to help Chrysler and General Motors emerge from bankruptcy saved many jobs as well as an important industry. He noted that most of the emergency loans have been repaid.

Earlier, opposition Republicans said President Obama has no clear plan to create jobs. House Speaker John Boehner said raising taxes on the wealthy would hurt employment.