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Unemployment ticks up to 7.6 percent in May

The economy added 175,000 jobs in May, and the nation’s unemployment rate rose slightly, to 7.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

The government said employment rose in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, and retail trade.

A total of 11.8 million people were jobless in May, up from 11.7 million in April. The number of long-term unemployed — people who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more — was unchanged, at 4.4 million. As a group, they accounted for 37.3 percent of the jobless.

ABC News described the report as tepid and said it might cheer investors who are hoping interest rates stay low, boosting the stock market.

JJ Kinahan, chief derivatives strategist of TDAmeritrade, told ABC he is optimistic about higher private sector employment, a “very bullish sign, especially combined with the fact that the losses were in the government sector.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said federal government employment declined by 14,000 in May. During the past three months, federal government employment has decreased by 45,000.

"When we see strong recoveries, this is a pattern that is often seen … that the private sector starts to expand as the economy overall begins to expand," he said.

Another positive note was the expansion of jobs in the retail sector, which alludes to a “stronger economy overall as the consumer continues to spend," he said.

The government revised the nation’s March jobs gain upward from 138,000 to 142,000. The April increase was revised downward, from 165,000 to 149,000. With those revisions, the government said, employment gains for the two months combined were 12,000 less than previously reported.

Click here for the full ABC News report.

Click here for the full government release.

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