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Expand chart
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added just 75,000 jobs in May, fewer than the 175,000 economists were expecting. Unemployment held at 3.6%, a 50-year low, the Labor Department said Friday.

Why it matters: Job growth screeched to a near halt at a time when every scrap of data is seen as make-or-break by people watching for cracks in the current period of economic expansion, which is on pace to be the longest in U.S. history.

Details:

  • The employment growth numbers for March and April numbers were revised downward by a combined 75,000 jobs.
  • The pace of wage growth slowed a bit, with average hourly earnings up 3.1% year-over-year in May (versus the 3.2% in April).
  • Monthly job growth has averaged 164,000 this year, compared with an average gain
    of 223,000 per month in 2018.

What they're saying:

  • "You can’t read too much into one jobs report, but today’s weak jobs number adds to a growing set of indicators that point to a weakening economy," Betsey Stevenson, an economics professor at the University of Michigan and former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, tweeted.
  • "The 75K jobs in May is unsurprising and not worrying: we would expect job growth to slow," tweeted Jason Furman, who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under Obama. "The slowdown in wage growth is surprising and worrying ... It should be rising not falling."

The bottom line: The weak jobs number give ammo to those betting the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates later this month.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
28 mins ago - Economy & Business

Biden's inflation danger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.

Ina Fried, author of Login
2 hours ago - Technology

CES was largely irrelevant this year

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Forced online by the pandemic and overshadowed by the attack on the Capitol, the 2021 edition of CES was mostly an afterthought as media's attention focused elsewhere.

Why it matters: The consumer electronics trade show is the cornerstone event for the Consumer Technology Association and Las Vegas has been the traditional early-January gathering place for the tech industry.

The FBI is tracing a digital trail to Capitol rioters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Capitol rioters, eager to share proof of their efforts with other extremists online, have so far left a digital footprint of at least 140,000 images that is making it easier for federal law enforcement officials to capture and arrest them.

The big picture: Law enforcement's use of digital tracing isn't new, and has long been at the center of fierce battles over privacy and civil liberties. The Capitol siege is opening a fresh front in that debate.

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