The U.S. created just 38,000 new jobs in May and nearly half a million people dropped out of the labor force, raising doubts about the strength of the economy and possibly forcing the Federal Reserve to scuttle plans to raise interest rates this summer. The increase in hiring was the smallest since the fall of 2010. More than half of the nation’s major industries eliminated jobs last month, the first time that’s happened in several years. In another bad sign, temp employment fell by 21,000 and it’s down 64,000 so far this year, the Labor Department said. In a surprising twist, the unemployment rate fell to 4.7% from 5% to mark the lowest level since the month before the Great Recession began in December 2007
U.S. new-home sales posted their strongest month in more than eight years while prices jumped to a record level, suggesting healthy demand alongside limited supplies across the housing market. Purchases of new, single-family homes jumped 16.6% from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 619,000, the Commerce Department said. That was the fastest pace since January 2008.
The share of foreign-born workers in the U.S. labor force inched up again last year, highlighting one of the hot-button issues in the unfolding presidential campaign. The labor force last year had about 26.3 million foreign-born persons last year, according to new Labor Department figures. That amounts to nearly 17% of the total U.S. labor force, the highest level in records dating back two decades. The Labor Department report doesn’t distinguish between workers in the U.S. legally or illegally, and doesn’t track country of origin.
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