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The May Jobs Report: What is the Current US Employment Situation?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly look at the US employment situation and the data for May is rather neutral. The labor department jobs report examines a range of US jobs data to gauge the overall health of the US economy, specifically the number of jobs added, the unemployment rate, and what industries are hiring now.

Before we get to the May jobs report, let’s revisit April’s US job numbers. Last month, the BLS reported that nonfarm payroll employment rose by 263,000 jobs while the unemployment rate fell to 3.6% (approximately 5.8 million professionals), which is the lowest rate in 50 years. A deeper look at the US jobs data and industries hiring in 2019 showed moderate growth in a few areas while others declined or registered no change at all.

  • Professional and business services – 76,000 jobs added
  • Construction – 33,000 jobs added
  • Healthcare – 27,000 jobs added
  • Social assistance – 26,000 jobs added
  • Manufacturing – 4,000 jobs added
  • Retail – 12,000 jobs lost
  • Leisure and hospitality, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing – no change

The May jobs report showed total nonfarm payroll employment rising slightly by 75,000, unemployment holding steady at 3.6%, and the number of unemployed persons remaining largely unchanged at 5.9 million. Here are some other highlights of the labor department jobs report:

  • The number of long-term unemployed rose slightly to 1.3 million, accounting for 22.4% of all unemployed workers.
  • The labor force participation rate stayed at 62.8%.
  • The number of people employed part time for economic reasons (AKA involuntary part-time workers) declined by 299,000 and now totals 4.4 million.
  • Average hourly earnings for all employees on nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $27.77 after a 6-cent jump in April and a 4-cent uptick in March. Since the beginning of the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1 percent.

May saw modest growth for a few industries hiring in 2019. Professional and business services continued an upward trend by adding 33,000 jobs, health care added 16,000 jobs, and construction added 4,000 jobs. Key industries like manufacturing, wholesale trade, leisure and hospitality, financial activities, retail trade, and transportation and warehousing saw no change.

Overall, the labor department jobs report suggests the economy is in good shape. Whether you’re looking for top talent or searching for your dream job, there’s still plenty of opportunity out there, and you can find it on iHire.


For more information on how the BLS tracks and updates US job numbers and calculates the unemployment rate, check out this informative post on FiveThirtyEight.

by: Freddie Rohner, iHire
June 07, 2019