By Jeannine Aversa,AP
With companies in no mood to hire,the unemployment rate jumped to 9.4 percent in May,the highest in more than 25 years. But the pace of layoffs eased,with employers cutting 345,000 jobs,the fewest since September.
The much smaller-than-expected reduction in payroll jobs,reported by the Labor Department on Friday,adds to evidence that the recession is loosening its hold on the country. It marked the fourth straight month that the pace of layoffs slowed.
“This tide is turning,”said Richard Yamarone,economist at Argus Research. “We expect this trend of slower job loss to continue throughout the year.”
Still,the increase in the nation’s unemployment rate from 8.9 percent in April underscores the difficulties that America’s 14.5 million unemployed are having in finding new jobs. Economists had expected the rate to hit 9.2 percent last month.