WASHINGTON – U.S. employers added a solid 280,000 jobs in May, showing that the economy is back on track after starting 2015 in a slump.
The Labor Department says the unemployment rate ticked up to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent in April. The strong job growth suggests that employers remained confident enough to keep hiring even after the economy shrank during the first three months of the year.
Workers found jobs at an average pace of 207,000 over the past three months, a decent gain though down from last year's average of 263,667.
Construction firms and the health care industry drove job growth, while cheaper oil prices led the energy sector to shed workers for the fifth straight month.
Average hourly wages in May rose only 2.3 percent from a year earlier.