By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Hiring heated up for almost everyone in June.

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent from 6.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said Friday. The decline benefited men, women, high school graduates, those with college experience and different racial groups.

Job growth rose by 288,000, according to a separate government survey. The hiring over the past five months was the most vigorous such stretch since the go-go days of the dot-com era 15 years ago.

Employers last month snapped up workers with high school diplomas, causing their unemployment rate to plunge to 5.8 percent from 6.5 percent in May. Community college graduates and university drop-outs also found work. Their unemployment rate fell to 5 percent from 5.5 percent.

Unemployment did tick up for college graduates. That’s likely because 175,000 members of the class of 2014 began hunting for work last month _ and only 117,000 of them landed jobs.

But employers still prefer college degrees. Sherwin-Williams hired 1,400 college graduates this year for its management training programs.

“I’m pretty impressed with these young kids who are joining the company,” said Chris Connor, CEO of the Cleveland-based paint and building materials company. He called the new graduates “far more globally aware.”

The ranks of the long-term unemployed fell 293,000 last month to just under 3.1 million. But in a cautionary note, many people who have been jobless for more than six months stopped looking for work. The government stops counting people as unemployed once they abandon their job searches. Untitled

Unemployment rate by group:
(Numbers in percentages)              June 2014 May 2014 June 2013
White                                     5.3      5.4     6.6
Black                                    10.7     11.5    13.5
Asian*                                    5.1      5.3     5
Adult men                                 5.7      5.9     7
Adult women                               5.3      5.7     6.8
Teenagers                                 21      19.2    23.8 
20-24 years old                           10.5    11.1    13.3 
25-54 years old                            5.1     5.5     6.4 
55 and over                                4.4     4.6     5.3 
Veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan*              7       5       7.2 
No high school diploma                     9.1     9.1    10.7 
High school graduate                       5.8     6.5     7.6 
Some college                               5       5.5     6.3 
College graduate                           3.3     3.2     3.9

Duration of Unemployment:
Average length (weeks)                     33.5   34.5    35.7 
Jobless 6 months of more (pct.)            32.8   34.6    36.9
* Not seasonally adjusted
Source: Labor Department