US jobless rate falls to 18-year low

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US jobs growth was faster than expected in May, as employers added 223,000 positions.

The unemployment rate fell further to 3.8%, having fallen to 3.9% the previous month, bringing the rate to an 18-year low.

The average hourly pay of private sector workers increased 2.7% year-on-year, compared with 2.6% in April.

Surveys of economists had predicted that there would be a gain of about 188,000 jobs in May.

Analysts said the positive jobs data fuelled expectations that the central bank, the Federal Reserve, would raise interest rates at its next meeting later this month.

The unemployment rate has not been this low since April 2000 and has already fulfilled the Fed’s forecast of 3.8% by the end of 2018.

All sectors of the US economy registered job gains. Construction added 25,000 jobs in May after notching up gains of 21,000 jobs in April.

Manufacturing created another 18,000 jobs last month in addition to the 25,000 created in April.

Revised data for March and April showed the economy adding 15,000 more jobs than previously thought. Economists had previously said bad weather was to blame for slower job growth over those two months.

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