The May 2021 US jobs report released yesterday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 559,000 jobs were added in the month - more than 2X the number added in April but considerably less that the million-plus economists and analysts had expected.
At least the unemployment rate dropped to a pandemic-era low of 5.8%.
The Leisure and Hospitality sector was again the biggest gainer, with 292,000 jobs added including 186,000 in restaurants and bars.
But 20,000 construction jobs and 6,000 retail jobs were lost.
The percentage of working-age adults who are employed or actively seeking jobs remained at 61.6%, while employers struggle to find workers so they can reopen their businesses.
Many Republican lawmakers blame expanded unemployment benefits for the worker shortage, while Democrats point to health concerns and school closures (which keep children - and parents - at home).
Wage growth reached 2% as demand for workers continued to outstrip supply.
At the current rate of Americans returning to work, the 8M jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic are unlikely to be regained before the end of 2022.