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217,000 jobs added in May slightly beating expectations

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The official jobs report was released by the Bureau of labor Statistics (BLS) Friday. The economy added 217,000 jobs, more than the 213,000 that economists predicted. Almost all of these were in the private sector. It is also higher than the twelve-month average of 197,000 jobs showing the economy continues to recover. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.3%.

There are still 9.8 million people unemployed, but that is down by 1.9 million over the last year or 1.2 percent. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 3.4 million in May. These individuals accounted for 34.6 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 979,000 according to the BLS.

The number of persons working part time was unchanged at 7.3 million, and the number of discouraged workers remained unchanged at 697,000. These are people who gave up looking for work.

Professional and business services added 55,000 jobs in May, the same as its average monthly job gain over the prior 12 months. The health care industry added 55,000 jobs in May, debunking rhetoric that Obamacare would kill healthcare jobs. The health care industry added 34,000 jobs over the month, twice its average monthly gain for the prior 12 months.

Leisure and hospitality grew with employment in food services and drinking places increasing by 32,000 in May and by 311,000 over the past year. Transportation and warehousing employment rose by 16,000 in May. Over the prior 12 months, the industry had added an average of 9,000 jobs per month.

Manufacturing employment changed little over the month but has added 105,000 jobs over the past year. Within the industry, durable goods added 17,000 jobs in May and has accounted for the net job gain in manufacturing over the past 12 months. Construction added 6,000 new jobs in May.

The federal government continued to shrink as it has for the last four years debunking political rhetoric that the government is growing.. In May, and additional 5,000 federal employees lost their job. In addition, 2,800 postal workers also got pink slips. An additional 5,000 state employed lost their jobs as well.

The slack has been made up by local governments, which hired 11,000 workers. This shows that the budget cuts by Congress have hurt state governments, and the cost burden has shifted to local governments. This could mean that local taxpayers are paying more to pick up the slack for federal and state cuts.

Even though the economy is recovering and jobs are added, the rate of job growth is slower than it should be. Congress still needs to act on a jobs bill like rebuilding crumbling infrastructure. The likelihood of this Congress doing anything is near zero, however. So we are stuck with modest job gains.

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