Nonfarm payrolls fell by 17,000 last month and the unemployment rate rose slightly, as expected, to 6.1%, according to the latest data released by the Labor Department Friday. Analysts were expecting the number of nonfarm payrolls to drop by around 25,000 in May, based on a Dow Jones and CNBC survey. The jobless rate was in line with expectations, but is now at the highest level since mid-1994. Previously, it stood at 6%. The Labor Department said there were job gains in temporary help services and construction, while losses continued in manufacturing. Average hourly earnings rose to $15.34 from $15.29 in April, according to the latest data. Construction employment rose by 26,000 in May, with specialty trade contractors showing the largest increase. Manufacturing employment decreased by 53,000 in May, about the same as its average monthly decline for the prior 12 months. Since July 2000, the industry has lost 2.6 million jobs, a drop of around 15%, the Labor Department said.