The 2.98 million jobs was a decline of 1,300 from April, and 1 percent below levels of a year earlier.
The figures are adjusted for seasonal fluctuations and subject to being revised.
Construction and manufacturing, followed by business and professional services, slashed headcount most.
Countering the downswing was additional hiring by government, including schools and hospitals, and, to a lesser extent, information services.
The Indianapolis area fared better.
The region added 5,400 jobs from May 2007. That was an increase of 0.6 percent, to 931,000.
Metro figures are not seasonally adjusted and thus are best compared with the same months in prior years.
In the Indianapolis area, government, health care and telecommunications led hiring.
Tapping the brakes were motor vehicle parts makers and department stores