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June 05, 2009
Jobless Rate Climbs to 9.4 Percent

Employers shed jobs at slower pace in May than they did over the past 6 months, but the unemployment rate continued to rise, according to a report by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Payroll employment fell by 345,000 in May, about half the average monthly decline for the prior 6 months. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate climbed from 8.9 to 9.4 percent in May. Steep job losses continued in manufacturing, while declines moderated in construction and several service-providing industries.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 268,000 over the month to 3.9 million and has tripled since the start of the recession.

In May, average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers on private payrolls were essentially unchanged at $18.54, seasonally adjusted. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings increased by 3.1 percent, while average weekly earnings rose by only 1.2 percent, reflecting a decline in the average workweek.

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