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Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate fell to 5.8% from 6.1%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: Vaxxed America isn't surging back to work as quickly as economists, who had predicted 670,000 new jobs, hoped it would. Still, the total number of jobs in the U.S. rose by a reasonably healthy amount in May — much faster than the anemic growth of 278,000 we saw in April.

Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: There's reason for optimism.

  • The unemployment rate hit a fresh pandemic-era low of 5.8%, with 496,000 fewer people considered unemployed.
  • Wages also jumped: Average hourly earnings rose 2% from this time last year.

Details: Leisure and hospitality led the pickup in hiring, with 292,000 new jobs gained. Two-thirds of those gains happened at food and drinking places, despite widespread complaints of worker shortages.

  • Pandemic-related unemployment fell sharply. The number of people who said their employer was closed or lost business because of the pandemic fell by a whopping 1.5 million, down to 7.9 million.
  • Construction employment, however, hasn’t followed the housing market upwards. The total number of jobs in construction fell in May by 20,000, though the decline was mostly in nonresidential jobs.

What they're saying: "My main takeaway from this jobs report (as from the last one) is that you can't just flip a switch and turn an economy back on," tweeted the N.Y. Times' Binyamin Appelbaum. "Recovery is messy and it's just going to take more time than anyone would like."

What it means for President Biden: There are still 7.6 million fewer Americans employed than there were pre-pandemic. At this rate, that gap won't close for another 13 months. That's going to help President Biden as he tries to push through his trillion-dollar job-creation bill.

What it means for Wall Street: The Fed wants to see a strong burst of hiring before it changes its monetary policy stance. This report, while good, doesn't satisfy that.

The bottom line: We're back on the path to a labor market recovery. But the path won't be a short one.

Go deeper

Pacific Northwest soon to be ground zero for record-shattering heat

Computer model projection showing the unusually strong heat dome over the Pacific Northwest on Sunday. (PivotalWeather).

A heat wave is bringing unprecedented high temperatures to the Pacific Northwest — a region of the country typically cooled by the ocean, rather than central air conditioning. The heat will begin Friday and last into early next week.

Why it matters: The heat wave will shatter monthly and all-time temperature records in the Pacific Northwest. Some of the records could break the old milestones by several degrees.

At least one person killed, 99 missing after deadly Miami-area condo collapse

A massive search-and-rescue operation is underway after a portion of a 12-story residential building in Surfside, Florida, collapsed at approximately 1:30 a.m. Thursday, according to AP.

The latest: Officials have accounted for 102 people who lived in the high-rise Champlain Towers South, but 99 people remained unaccounted for by midafternoon, said Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami-Dade County at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Biden strikes infrastructure deal with bipartisan group of senators

President Biden announced Thursday that he had agreed to a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure plan with a bipartisan group of ten senators, declaring: "We have a deal."

Why it matters: The agreement on the size and scope of an infrastructure package is a major achievement for Biden, who has long been a proponent of bipartisanship, but the compromise still faces serious hurdles in the House and Senate.