The unemployment rate fell to a 13.3 percent and payrolls unexpectedly rose by 2.5 million workers as the easing of restrictions on business activity led to new hiring in May.
The job gains mark a sudden turnaround from a month earlier, when the economy shed a staggering 20.5 million jobs, by far the worst monthly decline on records back to 1939.
Economists had expected the unemployment rate to rise to nearly 20 percent and the economy to shed an additional 8 million jobs.
The economy added jobs for 113 straight weeks through February, a record streak of growth.
The number of people applying for unemployment benefits has declined every week since hitting a record high 6.8 million in March.