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Economy adds 217,000 jobs in May; unemployment rate remains 6.3%

According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in its monthly Employment Situation Summary released on Friday the United States economy added 217,000 net non-farm payroll jobs in May while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.3%.

The chart from the White House Council of Economic Advisers based upon Bureau of Labor Statistics data details the change in net private sector jobs by month from Jan. 2008 through May 2014 with May adding 215,700 private sector jobs to the U.S. economy.

May was the 51st consecutive month of private sector job growth with a total of approximately 9.4 million net jobs gained within the private sector over that period.

There was little change in all other reported indicators: the number of long-term unemployed (3.4 million), the civilian labor force participation rate (62.8%), the number of involuntary part-time workers (7.3 million), the number of workers marginally attached to the workforce (2.1 million) and the number of discouraged workers (697,000).

Most of the private sector added jobs for the month for 216,000 total with the education and health services, the professional and business services and the leisure and hospitality sectors leading the way. Meanwhile, the utilities and information sectors posted decreases in jobs for the month.

The government sector as a whole had a slight gain of 1,000 jobs for the month, though there were job losses in the federal and state subsectors and gains in the local subsector.

The March 2014 net job numbers remained at the revised level of 203,000 while the April 2014 net job numbers were revised downward from 288,000 to 282,000.

Following is an approximate breakdown of net job growth within the major private industry sectors and the government sector for May 2014:

• Construction: +6,000
• Financial Activities: +3,000
• Education and Health Services: +63,000
• Information: -5,000
• Leisure and Hospitality: +39,000
• Manufacturing: +10,000
• Mining and Logging: +2,000
• Other Services: +4,000
• Professional and Business Services: +55,000
• Retail: +12,500
• Transportation and Warehousing: +16,400
• Utilities: -100
• Wholesale Trade: +9,900
• Government: +1,000

The average work week for private sector non-farm jobs remained steady at 34.5 hours while the manufacturing sector average work week increased by 0.2 hours to 41.1 hours. In May the average hourly wages for all private non-farm employees increased by 5 cents to $24.38. Hourly wages have increased on average by 2.1% over the past year.

In his White House blog post on Friday, Council of Economic Advisers chairman Jason Furman remarked,

“Job growth exceeded 200,000 for the fourth straight month in May, and businesses have now added over a million jobs so far this year. This month’s report continued the trend of steady job growth. While the consistent pace of job gains means the economy has come a long way in recovering from the Great Recession, the President believes that more can and should be done to strengthen economic growth and expand economic opportunity. Continuing to press ahead using his executive authority wherever possible, the President will hold events next week focused on ways to take action to improve college affordability and support working families.”

The “June 2014 Employment Situation Summary” is scheduled to be released by the BLS on Thursday, July 3, 2014.


Employment Situation Summary.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 6 June 2014. Web. 6 June 2014.

Furman, Jason. “The Employment Situation in May.” The White House. 6 June 2014. Web. 6 June 2014.

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