The Labor Department employment report released today reveals payrolls rose 431,000, but the bulk of those gains came as the government hired 411,000 workers to conduct U.S. Census jobs that will end after the summer.
Overall, it was the largest monthly increase since March 2000 and marked a fifth straight month of gains. The unemployment rate dropped from 9.9 to 9.7 percent.
Private employment, a barometer of labor market strength, increased just 41,000 after rising 218,000 in April. Employers increased hours, with the average workweek growing from 34.1 to 34.2 hours in April.