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Jobs rise in technology, fall in telecommunications

U.S. Labor Department report says fewer overall jobs added in May, but unemployment rate declined slightly.

The U.S. economy added jobs in technology manufacturing and services in May, but lost positions in telecommunications.

The U.S. Labor Department said Friday that nonfarm payroll jobs in computer and electronic product manufacturing rose by 700 to 1.33 million in May, and payroll employment in the category of Internet service providers, search portals and data processing increased by 1,300 to 395,400. But payrolls in the telecommunications industry fell by 1,500 jobs, to 1.04 million. (Employees on nonfarm payrolls are those who received pay for any part of a reference pay period, including persons on paid leave.)

Overall, the economy added 78,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in May, which was fewer than expected and far below the 274,000 positions added in April. Even so, the unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.1 percent, the lowest mark since September 2001.

Average weekly earnings for production or nonsupervisory workers in the private sector rose $1.01, to $541.81.

The monthly data adds to a mixed picture of the job scene for U.S. tech professionals. A recent report indicated that the U.S. tech industry may have turned a corner last year when it comes to employment woes. In addition, technology professionals have reason to be cautiously optimistic about jobs at start-up companies.

But a gauge of information technology workers' confidence in the job market dropped in May. The average number of unemployed workers in nine high-tech categories fell by 64,000 last year but remained close to 150,000, according to the Labor Department. And in the first three months of this year, technology companies slashed nearly 60,000 U.S. jobs--twice the number trimmed in the same period last year.

According to Friday's Labor Department report, the sector that includes computer systems design and related services workers added 700 payroll jobs, to 1.18 million. Employment in another tech-related category, management and technical consulting services, rose by 1,300 jobs to 799,600.