Job creation decelerated strongly in May, with nonfarm payrolls up by just 75,000 even as the unemployment rate remained at a 50-year low, the Labor Department reported today (June 7).

CNBC reported that the decline was the second in four months that payrolls increased by less than 100,000 as the labor market continues to show signs of weakening. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for a gain of 180,000.

In addition to the weak total for May, the previous two months’ reports saw substantial downward revisions. March’s count fell from 189,000 to 153,000 and the April total was taken down to 224,000 from 263,000, for a total reduction of 75,000 jobs.

Stock futures fell and bond yields dropped in reaction to the report. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures turned negative before reversing course and turning positive. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to its lowest level since September 2017.

“We had expected a slowdown after several years of job gains holding around 200,000, but not this much of a slowdown,” said Beth Ann Bovino, U.S. chief economist for S&P Global Ratings.

Broadly speaking, the report amounted to another dark spot amid fears of a larger sputtering in growth and perhaps a recession within the next year.

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