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The numbers: The U.S. created just 75,000 new jobs in May and employment gains earlier in the spring were scaled back, an ominous turn that points to a slowing economy and is likely to put more pressure on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates.

The meager gains in May fell far short of the 185,000 MarketWatch forecast, but how stocks react Friday will likely depend on whether Wall Street thinks the Fed will act soon.

More:  The news was not all bad. The unemployment rate clung to a 49-year low of 3.6% and a broader measure of joblessness that includes part-time workers dipped to the lowest level in 19 years.

Part of the reason hiring may have tapered off, economists say, is a growing shortage of skilled labor in the tightest labor market in decades. Many companies say they can’t find people to fill a large number of open jobs.

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