Business

Hiring In May Plunges To 8-Month Low; Millions Give Up On Job Hunt

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(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — A sharp slowdown in hiring last month may signal increasing fears that the U.S. economic recovery could be coming to an end.

The weakened job market saw employers in May adding the fewest jobs in eight months, while the official unemployment rate inched up to 9.1 percent.

KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports the numbers are disappointing to many here in Los Angeles who have loved ones still looking for work after months or even years.

“I have siblings, I have family members that have been looking for work and have been out of work,” said one local man. “It’s been going on about three years.”

The key question is whether the meager 54,000 jobs added last month — far lower than the previous three months’ average of 220,000 new jobs per month — mark a temporary setback or are evidence of a more chronic problem.

Private companies hired only 83,000 new workers in May — the fewest in nearly a year.

About 8.5 million Americans worked part time, even though they would have preferred full-time jobs. An additional 2.2 million have stopped looking in the past year.

Despite the gloomy data, there were some bright spots: professional and business services added 44,000 positions, most of them in accounting, information technology services, and management.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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