U.S. sheds far fewer jobs than expected in May

Have jobs losses bottomed and the U.S. economy finally started to turn the corner? Perhaps. The U.S. economy lost "only" 345,000 jobs in May, the U.S. Labor Department announced Friday, with the nation's unemployment rate rising to 9.4 percent from 8.9 percent. But the job loss total was considerably less than expected, suggesting layoffs may have peaked.

Further, it was the lowest job loss total in eight months. A Bloomberg News economists survey had forecast the economy to shed 530,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate to hit 9.2 percent. The economy lost a revised 617,000 jobs in April.

Still, although economists say there are more signs weekly that the nation's worst recession in more than 25 years may be bottoming as fiscal and monetary stimulus continues to work through the system, at least 3 to 4 more months of jobs data will be needed to confirm that the payroll cutting is ending.

Further, the unemployment rate, a lag indicator, will likely continue to rise for at least a half-year, perhaps as long as 12 months, until the economy starts creating a large amount of jobs -- something the U.S. economy hasn't done in about a year.

Details to follow.

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