Washington (CNN) - The nation's unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent in May, the Labor Department reported Friday.
That's a drop of two-tenths of a percent from April's 9.9 percent level. Analysts had expected to rate to fall to 9.8 percent.
The Labor Department also reports that the economy added 431,000 jobs in May, the biggest monthly gain since March of 2000. But economists had forecasted a gain of 500,000 jobs.
Of the jobs added, 390,000 were in the government, with the private sector adding 41,000 jobs, down from 218,000 in April.
A top Congressional Republican was quick to react to the report.
"Count me among the millions of Americans who welcome a jobs report that shows jobs gained rather than more jobs lost," said Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican Whip. "But a look beneath the numbers should give this Administration – and every American – cause for concern. We have to begin to address the structural deficiencies in our economy. Temporary or government jobs are not optimal, and private sector job growth simply isn't keeping pace with a growing labor force."
President Barack Obama is expected to comment on the unemployment report later Friday morning.
UPDATE 9:22 a.m.:
"I welcome job growth any day, week or month of the year, but the figures released today need to be stamped with 'Buyer Beware'," says Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, in a statement.
"The underlying fact is that 9.7 percent unemployment is unacceptable by any standard. No amount of spin will resolve the fact that the President's policies have been a colossal failure when it comes to creating jobs. If his speech in Pennsylvania was any indication, President Obama has no intention of slowing his high-spending, big-government agenda that prevents the private sector from creating the jobs we need to put our economy back on track," adds Steele.
- CNN's Scott Spoerry contributed to this report
96% of the jobs added in May were government census workers -– this hardly is a boon to the economy
How many were census jobs?
And the Obama haters will read this as a rise in unemployment. they live in this bizarro alternate universe where black is white and bad is good. it's the only explanation for some of the mindless rants on this ticker that are totally devoid of fact or reason. How do you get through to people like that when facts and evidence have no impact on them? This president is doing the toughest job in the world and doing it as well as i've seen it done in my 60 years. I hope enough people wake up to the fact that he's working for US and don't cripple him in November with an even more republican-infested congress. Don't take away the firefighter's hose and hydrant. the Bush fire is far from out.
400,000 new (temporary) government jobs but only 40,000 private jobs. And someone thinks this is "good" news??? It's only more overhead to an already over-bloated public sector that we can't begin to afford. I can't think of much more worse economic news...
I know his answer. More tax cuts for the rich and cut Social Security. Republicans are doing nothing to help this country because of political crap.
Oh Eric Cantor, always something we don't like about anything that this President does. Lame, lame, lame. But your right wing redneck friends will surely see the red meat. Your criticism should be overcooked even by their low standards, but your audience is, after all, a bit dim in the thinking department. Right Phoenix86?
YAY!! .. Let’s all jump for joy! Most of the hires were temporary census workers which proves that Obama’s polices are keeping this economy from growing. Wait until the Bush tax cuts expire and the Obamacare taxes kick in on Jan 1 2011. Its all over then….
Wow 390k from the government, 41k private sector.
Maybe the Administration should hire ALL unemployed people. Then we'd get amazing jobs reports like "6 million jobs added in June! 5.99 million were added to the government payroll, private sector adds a modest 10k." =P
Now, had this said "390k jobs added to the private sector, 41k to the government" THAT would be cause for joy!
Jobs are out there. I hear unemployed in my neighborhood say "I don't want to do that", or "it doesn't pay much over unemployment".
Americans have become spoiled. Take the job, until something else comes along. Period.
We are trillions in debt and getting worse. Why do we allow the government to hire 390,000 people? We should start privatizing many government jobs. The private sector grows the economy, the government destroys it. OBAMA SHOULD BE IMPEACHED TODAY, HE IS THE SINGLE WORST THING TO HAPPEN TO OUR COUNTRY. HE SHOULD BE JAILED FOR TREASON.
So in reality, the economy only grew 41,000 jobs because big government growth is not the type of job growth this country needs.
It may have been below the expert's predictions, but still the economy added 431,000 jobs in May, the biggest monthly gain since March of 2000. If memory recalls Bill Clinton was president then and that's the same year that GWB was selected president. I'm sure it's just coincidence that a large number of jobs were created while a Democrat was president, a large number were lost while a Republican was president, then a large number were created again while another Democrat was president?
Congratulations to President Obozo, after spending over $1 trillion of our hard earned tax dollars he has managed to create 300,000 temporary government jobs. That is after the deducts to the slimy corrupt unions that put him in office, the slimy corrupt politicians who support him. One heck of a leader, able to steal money from honest hardworking people, pay off his slimy, corrupt political cronies and corrupt unions and still claim he created 300,000 temporary, unnecessary, tax sucking jobs. What a leader. IMPEACH OBAMA
Temps jobs! No gain Barry
Wow, it's now ONLY 9.7 percent! Woo hoo! Happy Days are here again!
Good job Barry! ONLY near-double digit unemployment! Apparantly, THIS is what change looks like.
With summer around the corner, expect hiring to begin. Temporary jobs are better than no jobs at all. Here in Virginia, we've got Busch Gardens, Water Country USA, Kings Dominion, Colonial Williamsburg, which all do their hiring around this time of year. I expect a big bounce in next month's report.
400,000 Government Jobs!!!!!
what a joke.....those aren't jobs-created folks.... those are hand-outs from the census.....
we have unemployment at 10% people..... and a president who is clueless.....
maybe we can hire more people to make more teleprompters.....
anybody who defends these numbers as 'growth' is an idiot..... true story.
431,000 jobs created last month...but 411,000 of those jobs were temporary Census Department positions. That means the economy created only 20,000 private sector jobs. President Obama insists the economy is recovering...but his Administration has spent a whole lot of money creating very few sustainable jobs. Something needs to change. Hopefully, we'll get some change in the mid-term elections in November.
The idiot Obama and his foolish followers will try to pass this report off as "good". It's not. Just ask any of those millions who have been out of work for years, except for the new hires in the government sector.
How many of these jobs are double and triple counted Census workers?
How is it mixed?
It is horrible news. NOTHING is growing except government. 41,000 jobs in the private sector and over half of them are temporary.
On top of that a whistleblower has come out saying the census department is skewing job numbers.
This all happened before in the 1970s and England go Thatcher in office and the US got Reagan in office. What follwed was 20 years of growth and prosperity for the entire world.
Get out there and vote in fiscal conservatives: we NEED –
We need this health care debacle repealed.
We need the borders secure
Mostly we need this travesty out of office. Get out there and swing the House and take back some of the Senate. Make this moron a lame duck before he does more harm to the nation
"The Labor Department also reports that the economy added 431,000 jobs in May,"
And most of them are government jobs and very few jobs added to the private sector. And wait until the census takers are finished harassing us....That will mean another 65 thousand among the unemployed.
Republicans will not give OUR President or his Administration any type of accolades for a job well done. When will they (Republicans) realize when the President fails our country fails; including Republicans.
After being out of work for 20 months, I would take ANY job – private or government. The last time I looked – Mr. Cantor holds a government job and is living off my tax dollars to do nothing and offering nothing, except to complain when there is goog news.
Why don't Mr. Cantor and Mr. Steele praise good ecomomic new and build some public confidence in the recovery? I'm sure its because the good numbers do not poll well for Republicans and their hoping good people stay unemployed until after the mid-terms.
Am I the only one who sees the rank hypocrisy here in the Republican criticisms that somehow it is Obama's (i.e., government's) fault that the economy is not creating more jobs? Whatever happened to the mantra that "government doesn't create jobs, people do!"? Cheers!