Jobs Growth Slows to a Crawl, Unemployment Rises

The numbers are in, and they’re not pretty. U.S. jobs growth in May slowed to its lowest level in a year, with nonfarm payrolls only adding 69,000 new jobs. Additionally, unemployment actually increased for the first time since last June.

After dipping to 8.1% in April, the U.S. unemployment rate swelled back to 8.2% – where it was in March. The 69,000 jobs added was less than half than the 155,000 economists were expecting.

Adding insult to injury was the fact that jobs growth was revised down for March and April. The April jobs report was reduced from 115,000 jobs added to 77,000. March payroll numbers dipped from 154,000 to 143,000.

All the bad news is wreaking havoc on stocks today. Less than an hour into the trading day, all major U.S. markets were down at least 1.4%, with the Nasdaq leading the downward charge with a 1.7% drop.

Oil prices are falling even faster. Crude oil has dipped another 2.9% today to $84 a barrel. On the heels of a 17% decline in May, oil is starting to near its early October low of $77 a barrel.

Oil stocks are following suit. Big oil companies Exxon (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX) each saw their stocks fall more than 10% in May.

The economic problems aren’t limited to the U.S. Unemployment in the euro zone, where a whopping 17.4 million people were without jobs at the end of April – 110,000 more than there were in March, and 1.8 million more jobless claims than there were a year ago.

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