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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Job boost for US economy
US production line
The rise surprised most economists
The unemployment rate in the US fell unexpectedly in May.

The rate for the month dropped to 5.8%, as 41,000 new jobs were created.

The previous month's figure had been an eight-year high.

The gain in jobs in May was the highest for 15 months, but still below some analyst forecasts of 58,000.

Economists say there is still concern among many business about the speed and strength of an recovery, which makes them more reluctant to re-hire workers laid off during the recession.

The fall was unexpected as analysts had predicted unemployment would continue to rise until at least mid-year and may go as high as 6.5% before starting to fall again.

The US economy went into recession in March last year but has begun growing again - by 5.8% in the first three months of this year.

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The BBC's Aruna Iyengar
"Economists say a healthy labour market recovery is still a long way off"

Economic indicators

Fears and hopes

US Fed decisons

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See also:

03 May 02 | Business
02 Nov 01 | Business
01 Feb 02 | Business
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