USA employers add a weak 75,000 jobs; unemployment stays 3

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US job growth slowed sharply in May and wages rose less than expected, raising fears that a loss of momentum in economic activity could be spreading to the labor market, which could put pressure on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates this year.

Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the university, says however, the addition of 75,000 jobs last month is not weak enough to lead to rate cuts.

Unemployment held steady at 3.6%, a five-decade low, as workforce participation remained unchanged.

'The weakness in job growth was broadly experienced across industry groups and not obviously driven by distortions such as weather or strikes, ' said Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan in NY. Factory output has been weak and sentiment dropped to a 31-month low in May, with manufacturers anxious mostly about the trade tensions.

The U.S. central bank raised interest rates four times a year ago. It's nearly like cheering that your effective tax rate is lower because your income got cut in half.

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Earlier in the week, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell indicated the central bank would be open to easing monetary policy in order to save the economy, boosting sentiment as a result.

As the world's largest economy nears its longest-ever expansion in July, the employment report may amplify rhetoric that Fed rate cuts are needed to support growth.

Revisions cut 75,000 jobs from the prior two months, bringing the three-month average to 151,000.

White House economic advisor Kevin Hassett said that bad weather was the main reason behind the employment slowdown, and added the report showed a "a little bit of a blip down".

That was the view of traders in short-term interest rate futures Friday, after a government report showed USA employers sharply slowed hiring in May. The jobless rate was partly pushed down by workers dropping out of the labor force over the last four months. Government payrolls are forecast increasing by at least 10,000 jobs in May, but hiring for the 2020 Census is a wild card to the estimate.

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But private employers added just 82,000 service jobs in May, less than half the number of the month before.

"I don't use the job numbers to predict the economy", he said. "It does mean that we likely will not have the strength that we had in past years", Gimbel said. It tends to spike during major storms or natural disasters.

The average salary rose in May by six cents per hour to $27.83. The unemployment rate is expected to remain at a almost 50-year low of 3.6%, according to data provider FactSet.

It was roughly three weeks ago that 71 percent of Fed-watchers surveyed by Bloomberg anticipated at least one rate cut for the year. U.S. Treasury prices rallied, while the dollar dropped against a basket of currencies. That was the smallest annual gain since September.

Bloomberg's Chris Middleton and Sophie Caronello contributed.

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