(New York Times) – Blunting worries about the American economy’s momentum after a stretch of lackluster growth, the government reported on Friday that employers added a hefty 280,000 jobs in May, well above the average monthly totals logged over the last year.
The official unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent, as more Americans dived back into the labor pool and started actively looking for work. Higher hourly wages, which rose 0.3 percent last month, may have helped lure back some sidelined workers while providing those already on the job with some long-awaited gains.
The return of stronger job growth is also likely to strengthen the resolve of Federal Reserve officials who are hoping to start raising interest rates from their near-zero level later this year.
“This is a confirmation that the economy is performing well and the first quarter was an aberration,” said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust.