U.S. Payrolls Rose in May, Unemployment at 6.3%, Nearly a 6-Year Low

Employers added 217,000 jobs in May to push U.S. payrolls past their pre-recession peak and the jobless rate held at an almost six-year low as the economy gained traction.

The advance was broad-based and followed a 282,000 gain in April, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a ForexSQ survey of economists called for a 215,000 increase. Unemployment in May was unchanged at 6.3 percent.

Improving business confidence as sales grow and the economy rebounds from its worst performance in three years will probably mean headcounts will continue to climb. Rising employment gives Federal Reserve policy makers reason to keep paring back record monetary stimulus.

“We’re seeing the continuation of solid payrolls gains, which is an accomplishment for the economy and will boost consumer and business fundamentals,” said Laura Rosner, U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York, which forecast a 215,000 gain in payrolls. “We’re slowly moving in the direction of stronger earnings growth, which is really what we need to see for the recovery to continue.”