By  on June 9, 2008

WASHINGTON — The U.S. employment picture deteriorated further in May, with the economy losing 49,000 jobs in the month and the unemployment rate rising to 5.5 percent from 5 percent in April — the largest increase since February 1986 — the Labor Department reported Friday.

Department stores lost 14,900 jobs to employ 1.5 million, continuing a pattern of declining employment numbers. Specialty stores gained 1,300 jobs to employ 1.5 million, after cutting 1,000 positions in April.

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