Manufacturing payrolls increased by 3,000 last month, after gaining 5,000 positions in April.
The unemployment rate stayed steady at 3.6%, and the share of people in the labor force remained unchanged, at 62.8% of adults.
Additionally, the job count for April was revised downward from 263,000 to 224,000, while March's numbers were lowered from 189,000 to 153,000.
USA job growth slowed sharply in May and wages rose less than expected, suggesting the loss of momentum in economic activity was spreading to the labour market, which could increase calls for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates this year.
However, wage growth also decelerated slightly, with average hourly earnings rising 3.1% from a year earlier, down from a 3.2% rate in April. Next month, it will become the longest period of uninterrupted growth on records dating to 1854. "Coming in the context of tariffs and other economic headwinds makes this number more worrisome".
The economy expanded at a healthy 3.1% annual rate in the January-March quarter, but the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta estimates that annual growth will slump to just 1.5% in the April-June quarter.
In the last 12 months, wages have increased by 3.1 per cent.
Hiring slowed across all sectors in May.
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Hiring was weak across a broad range of industries in May.
Economists have forecast that the government will report that employers added 185,000 jobs, a solid figure consistent with this year's average monthly gain. The construction industry added 4,000 jobs.
Job creation took a nosedive in May, with American employers adding a disappointing 75,000 jobs amid escalating trade tensions between the United States and China. Retailers, hammered by online competition, have cut jobs for the past three months. A category that includes telecom, publishing, and media shed 5,000 jobs. Government payrolls contracted by 15,000, highlighted by drops in state and local education. "One of the economy's only bright spots is finally weakening".
"The economy has been much stronger than markets expected time after time", Hassett said. Many business leaders say finding workers is their top struggle, but they are not raising wages as fast as they were earlier this year.
It's important not to make too much of one jobs report. The company hires software developers in its Sacramento office, and is able to attract employees who are exhausted of the high cost of living in San Francisco.
"In an economy that is 70 percent consumer spending, if the consumer isn't healthy, corporate profitability and the stock market won't save us", Bernstein said. On May 10, President Donald Trump hiked duties from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
The higher costs from the import taxes - and the potential for more - are causing some companies to scale back plans for spending, investment and expansion. With low-priced foreign components costing more or becoming unavailable, manufacturing activity in the U.S.is slowing - with some business owners "citing rising concerns over the cost and uncertainty brought on by tariffs". Factory output fell 0.5% in April, according to a Fed report.
Greg Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics, called the May jobs report "disappointing".