Hiring Slowed Last Month, Unemployment at 9.1 Percent

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08: Job seekers line up to attend the New York City Startup Job Fair on April 8, 2011 in New York City. Over 700 people attended the job fair, which featured 40 New York-based start-up companies. As the American economy continues to pick up speed the unemployment rate has fallen from 9.8 percent to 8.8 percent. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Photo: Spencer Platt/2011 Getty Images

Continuing the trend from last month, the unemployment rate in the United States has climbed to 9.1 percent. Hiring also slowed; only 54,000 jobs were added to the economy, a disappointing level of progress. At its lowest since the financial crisis, the unemployment rate was 8.8 percent back in March. In April the rate climbed to 9 percent, but that was because more people were looking for work — the economy actually added 232,000 jobs that month. This month's news is bad all around, though. The interruption in Japanese trade and manufacturing from the tsunami affected hiring — as did the devastating tornadoes in the Midwest. These are temporary factors that economists hope will not affect unemployment in the months to come, but the fact that they were able to make such a dent in hiring shows how frail the economic recovery actually is.

Hiring in U.S. Slowed in May With 54,000 Jobs Added