By  on June 6, 2008

WASHINGTON – The U.S. employment picture continued to deteriorate in May, with the economy losing 49,000 jobs in the month and the unemployment rate rising to 5.5 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The unemployment rate increase was the largest since February 1986. Department stores slashed 14,900 jobs to employ 1.51 million in May, continuing a pattern of declining employment. Specialty stores gained 1,300 jobs to employ 1.5 million, after cutting 1,000 jobs in April.

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