May's job creation was the smallest in more than 5½ years, and the three-month average, with revisions, is now 116,000, about half the rate of late last year. The report found a reduction of 34,000 information workers, which would reflect telecommunications workers. Goods producing jobs declined by 36,000, while construction fell by 15,000 and manufacturing was off by 10,000.
"June just doesn't seem at all possible in the context of this report. It just feels very flukey. I don't know if I would read anything into it at all. Job growth has slowed since the beginning of the year but no other data suggests that it would fall to this extent," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "You can't dismiss it. It's an important report, but there are times when the data, for whatever reason, are not representative of the reality of what's going on."
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Economists said the weak May data could mean there would be a bounce back in June. But on a negative note, May ISM nonmanufacturing data, which measures the service economy, fell Friday to 52.9, below expectations and a 28-month low. The jobs component of that number fell to 49.7, showing contraction and well below the 53 in April.
"When you take the entire report as a whole I get two main messages," said Luke Tilley, chief economist at Wilmington Trust. "One is that Verizon is throwing off a lot of the numbers here, but there is also structural weakness when we look at construction, manufacturing and wholesale trade."