Another month of strong hiring drove the nation’s unemployment rate down to 3.8 percent, almost as low as 1969, when Detroit still dominated the auto industry and the Vietnam War was raging.
U.S. employers added 233,000 jobs in May, up from 159,000 in April, the Labor Department reported Friday. And unemployment fell to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent from 3.9 percent in April.
Average hourly pay rose 2.7 percent from a year earlier, a slightly faster annual rate than in April, the Labor Department reported Friday. But pay growth remains below levels that are typical when the unemployment rate is this low.
“The economy and labor market appear to be firing on all cylinders, with all sectors showing strength…”
Still, the report shows that the nearly 9-year old economic expansion — the second-longest on record — remains on track. Employers appear to be shrugging off recent concerns about global trade disputes.
Friday’s report showed that hiring in the United States is benefiting a wider range of Americans: The unemployment rate for high school graduates reached 3.9 percent, a 17-year low. For black Americans, it hit a record low of 5.9 percent.
“The economy and labor market appear to be firing on all cylinders, with all sectors showing strength,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics.