The U.S. economy added more jobs than expected in May, underscoring that the labor market remains tight even amid concerns about a possible economic slowdown.
The economy added 390,000 jobs last month, outpacing the median estimate of 325,000 expected by a Reuters survey of economists.
The unemployment rate held steady at 3.6% for the third month in a row, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That rate is only slightly over the lowest rate since December 1969.
Meanwhile, average hourly earnings increased 0.3% from April and by 5.2% over the past 12 months.
In particular, the professional and business services industry saw notable gains, adding 75,000 jobs last month, while leisure and hospitality added 84,000 positions, according to BLS.
Non-farm payroll employment remains around 800,000 jobs below pre-pandemic levels and the labor market has a 3.2 million job shortfall when taking into account population growth, according to Economic Policy Institute senior economist Elise Gould.
The fast acceleration in wages has increased the cost of doing business and helped fuel inflation, which was above 8% and close to a 40-year high in April.