WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. employers added 559,000 jobs in May, an improvement from April’s sluggish gain but still evidence that many companies are struggling to find enough workers as the economy rapidly recovers from the pandemic recession.
Last month’s job gain was above April’s revised total of 278,000, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 5.8% from 6.1%.
The speed of the rebound from the pandemic recession has caught employers off guard and touched off a scramble to hire. The reopening of the economy, fueled by substantial federal aid and rising vaccinations, has released pent-up demand among consumers to eat out, travel, shop, attend public events and visit with friends and relatives.
Many large chains, including Amazon, Walmart, Costco, and Chipotle, have raised starting pay to better attract applicants. Yet so far, those efforts aren’t bearing much fruit. The number of people working or looking for work last month slipped slightly in May after three months of gains.