U.S. Nonfarm Payroll Increases by 390,000 in May; Unemployment Holds Steady at 3.6%

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today (6-3-22) that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 390,000 in May. This follows April’s upward-revised figure of 436,000, (+8,000) and March’s downward-revised figure of 398,000 (-30,000). With these revisions, employment in March and April combined is -22,000 lower than previously reported.

In May, the unemployment rate was 3.6%, unchanged for the third consecutive month, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 6.0 million. These measures are little different from their values in February 2020 (3.5% and 5.7 million, respectively), prior to the pandemic.

Job growth was widespread in May, with notable job growth occurring in leisure and hospitality, which were up 84,000. Employment in professional and business services rose by 75,000. Transportation and warehousing added 47,000 jobs. Employment in state government education increased by 36,000 and by 33,000 in private education. Health care increased by 28,000. Manufacturing employment continued to trend up, adding 18,000 jobs in May. Wholesale trade added 14,000 new positions. Mining added 6,000 jobs. However, retail trades lost 61,000 jobs in May, but still remains 159,000 above its February 2020 level.

Specifically looking at the construction sector, which includes both residential and non-residential, employment totaled 7.7 million in May. The residential construction sector added 16,700 jobs in May and currently exceeds its February of 2020 level. Non-residential construction added 19,400 jobs during the month of May. As of the end of May, 78% of non-residential construction jobs lost in March and April have now been recovered.

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