The nation's unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent in May as the number of jobs grew by 431,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning.

Most of the added jobs stemmed from the hiring of temporary employees to work on Census 2010.

The bureau said overall, private-sector employment changed little, adding 41,000 positions.

The 9.7 percent joblessness rate compares with 9.9 percent in April and is the same as it was for the first three months of the year.

The number of unemployed persons was 15.0 million in May. The number of long-term unemployed - those jobless for 27 weeks or more - was about unchanged at 6.8 million, the bureau said.