Total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 431,000 in May, largely reflecting the hiring of 411,000 temporary employees to work on the 2010 census, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, private sector employment changed little, with a gain of just 41,000 jobs. Manufacturing, temporary help services and the mining sector added jobs, while construction employment declined.

The unemployment rate edged down to 9.7 percent, to 15 million people in May — the same rate as in the first three months of 2010.

In May, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was about unchanged at 6.8 million. These individuals made up 46 percent of the unemployed, about the same as in April.

The number of unemployed re-entrants to the labor force fell by 286,000 in May, offsetting an increase in April.

In May, the civilian labor force participation rate edged down by two-tenths of a percentage point to 65 percent. The employment-population ratio was essentially unchanged over the month at 58.7 percent.

The number of people employed part-time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) declined by 343,000 in May to 8.8 million. These individuals were working part-time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

Approximately 2.2 million people were marginally attached to the labor force in May, unchanged from a year earlier. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted work and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 1.1 million discouraged workers in May, up by 291,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are people not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.

The remaining 1.1 million people marginally attached to the labor force had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

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