New Jersey's unemployment rate rose to 8.8 percent, the highest rate in almost 17 years, as stimulus spending slowed job losses to a monthly low of 6,200, compared with 16,000 jobs lost in each of the previous six months, the state labor department reported.

The May rate is up from 8.4 percent the previous month, and an increase from 5.1 percent a year ago, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development said. The U.S. jobless rate is 9.4 percent, a 25-year high. President Barack Obama, in an interview yesterday with Bloomberg News, said it may reach 10 percent as employers are slow to hire new workers.    - Bloomberg News