(CN) — Employers across the United States pulled back on hiring in May, adding only 138,000 jobs, the Labor Department said Friday.
But the gains were enough to push the unemployment rate down to 4.3 percent — the lowest level since 2001.
The department’s latest employment report suggests that eight years after the Great Recession, job growth is slowing after an extended period of gains.
Besides the hiring slowdown in May, the government on Friday revised down its estimate of job growth in March and April by a combined 66,000.
Monthly job gains have averaged 121,000 over the past three months, compared with 181,000 over the past 12 months.
Restaurants and other food service businesses added 30,300 workers, while the healthcare industry picked up 24,300.
The construction industry added 11,000, while energy firms hired 6,600 additional workers.
Meanwhile, state and local governments shed 9,000 workers, while retailers cut 6,100 jobs.
Manufacturers trimmed about 1,000 positions, the Labor Department said.