Business confidence worldwide has declined to levels not seen since the financial crisis, according to a survey by Markit. The decrease in optimism is strongest in the U.S. and China, according to Markit.
Construction employment increased by 3.4% last month compared with May 2012, bringing the sector's unemployment rate to 10.8%, the lowest since August 2009. "Although the monthly job gain in May was modest, both residential and nonresidential construction have been adding workers at roughly double the rate of the overall economy in the past year," said Ken Simonson, chief economist of the Associated General Contractors of America.
Unemployment in the U.S. fell to 7.5% in April, a four-year low, as employers hired 165,000 people, the Labor Department said. Between November and April the economy created an average of 208,000 jobs a month, considerably more than the 138,000 monthly average during the previous six months.
The 3.8 million positions available at June's end were the most in the U.S. since July 2008 and 1.6 million more than in July 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report from the bureau's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey also said the number of job openings per available worker was down to about half of the peak level in mid-2009.
The Labor Department said first-time jobless claims fell to 348,000 last week, the fewest since February 2008. The four-week rolling average -- considered a more accurate indicator of labor-market conditions -- declined 1,250, to 355,000 claims, the department said.