Unemployment edges up to 9.1 percent

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The unemployment rate was up slightly in May, standing at 9.1 percent, with 54,000 jobs added last month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Job gains continued in professional and business services, health care and mining. Employment levels in other major private-sector industries were little changed, and local government employment continued to decline.

In May, the number of long-term unemployed — those jobless for 27 weeks or more — increased by 361,000, to 6.2 million, or 45.1 percent of the 13.9 million people who were unemployed.

The number of people employed part time for economic reasons was essentially unchanged in May at 8.5 million. Those people were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In May, 2.2 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, about the same as a year earlier. Those people were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.

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