WASHINGTON -- The U.S. economy added 217,000 jobs in May, bringing the total number of jobs in the country above the level at the beginning of the deep 2008-2009 recession for the first time.
This number includes 10,000 manufacturing jobs.
Labor Department data showed Friday that the total number of jobs reached 138.46 million in May, exceeding the previous peak of 138.36 set in January 2008.
The unemployment rate held steady at 6.3%, after falling sharply from 6.7% in April.
The showing was close to expectations, implying a continued modest rebound to the economy after the 1% contraction of the first quarter of the year.
But the pace of job creation was not strong enough to pull people back into the workforce after having left it during the Great Recession, with the very low 62.8% rate of participation unchanged.
Encouraging, however, were falls in the number of people forced to work part-time because they could not find full-time jobs, and a slight uptick in wages during the month.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014