NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Job losses slowed dramatically in May, according to the latest government reading on the battered labor market, even as the unemployment rate rose to a 26-year high.
Employers cut 345,000 jobs from their payrolls in the month, down from the revised 504,000 job decline in April.
This was the fewest jobs lost in a month since last September, when the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers caused a crisis in U.S. financial markets and choked off credit for many businesses. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a loss of 520,000 jobs in May.
The unemployment rate rose to 9.4 percent from 8.9 percent in April. Economists expected unemployment would rise to 9.2 percent.