News / Economy

US Hiring Slows, Unemployment Rate Hits 9.1 Percent

A stock trader looks at sinking prices after a US jobs report showed the smallest increase in eight months, June 3, 2011
A stock trader looks at sinking prices after a US jobs report showed the smallest increase in eight months, June 3, 2011

Multimedia

The U.S. economy is showing signs of slowing down, adding only 54,000 jobs in May - the smallest increase in eight months. The nation's unemployment rate inched higher last month to 9.1 percent, raising fears the U.S. recovery already may have peaked.

Hiring in May fell far short of the 150,000 jobs that Wall Street was expecting, sending stock prices sharply lower on Friday.

The big question among investors is whether the anemic job numbers are temporary or evidence of deeper economic problems. Economist Mark Vitner at Wells Fargo takes the more optimistic view.

"What this report reflects is a kind of the peak run-up in gasoline prices, the peak of the disruption in the Japanese supply shortages, so I don't think this necessarily should be carried forward all the way through the summer, although we probably will have another weak month or two," he said.

The White House downplayed the lower job numbers as just a bump in the road. On a tour of a Chrysler car plant in Ohio, President Barack Obama said the economy continues to recover from the worst recession in decades. He credited his administration's decision to bail out the auto industry for saving more than a million jobs.

"What's most important is that all three automakers are now adding shifts and creating jobs at the strongest rate since the 1990s," the president said.

The president's critics pounced on the jobs report as a sign the U.S. economy is on the wrong track.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner said, "You talk to job creators around the country like we have, they'll tell you that the over taxing, over regulating and overspending that's going on here in Washington is creating uncertainty and holding them back."

The weakness in hiring last month was widespread. Manufacturers cut 5,000 jobs, retailers slashed more than 8,000 positions, and the service and hospitality trades reduced payrolls by 6,000.  

Instead of giving up, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis told VOA's Spanish Language Service that unemployed workers should seek more training to improve their chances.

"We're finding that employers are saying we need people that are better trained, that know how to deal in customer service, that know how to do marketing, that know how to have command of the English language and also have some good skills sets," said Solis.

The White House says the U.S. economy has added more than two million jobs in the past 15 months. But the latest job numbers show nearly 14 million Americans still are looking for work.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.