Unemployment falls to nearly 1969 levels
Another month of strong hiring drove the nation’s unemployment rate down to 3.8 percent – tantalizingly close to the level last seen in 1969, when Detroit still dominated the auto industry and the Vietnam War was raging.
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.
The report shows that the nearly 9-year-old economic expansion – the second-longest on record – remains on track and may even be gaining steam. Employers appear to be shrugging off recent concerns about global trade disputes.
“The May jobs report revealed impressive strength and breadth in U.S. job creation that blew away most economists’ expectations,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West.
With the unemployment rate so low, businesses have complained for months that they are struggling to find enough qualified workers. But Friday’s jobs report suggests that they are taking chances with pockets of the unemployed and underemployed whom they had previously ignored.
Roughly an hour before the employment data was released, President Donald Trump appeared to hint on Twitter that a strong jobs report was coming. “Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning,” he tweeted.
The president is normally briefed on the monthly jobs report the day before it is released, and he and other administration officials are not supposed to comment on it beforehand.