The unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to 5.8 percent in May -- the first decline in three months. This announcement came from the Labor Department today. It said the jobless rate fell 0.2 percentage points last month from an eight-year high of 6.0 percent in April. Economists had predicted the May rate would edge up to 6.1 percent.

The report also showed that the number of people unemployed for 27 weeks or longer continued to rise last month by 142,000 -- to 1.6 million. Those long-term jobless comprised about 20 percent of total unemployment in May -- nearly double from a year earlier.

In today's report, the number of people in the labor force was little changed in May at 142.8 million.