WASHINGTON – U.S. employers hired at a healthy pace in May for a fourth straight month, fueling hopes the economy will accelerate after a grim start to the year.
The Labor Department says employers added 217,000 jobs last month. That's down from 282,000 in April, which was revised slightly lower.
But job gains have now averaged 234,000 in the past three months, up from only 150,000 in the previous three.
Despite the gains, the unemployment rate, which is calculated from a separate survey, remained 6.3 percent.
The job market has reached a significant milestone. Nearly five years after the Great Recession ended, the U.S. has finally regained all the jobs lost in the downturn.
Yet that's hardly cause for celebration: The population has grown nearly 7 percent since then.