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Slower Hiring Pace As Unemployment Falls to 16-Year Low

US Jobs Report – May 2017

Slower Hiring Pace As Unemployment Falls to 16-Year Low

US Jobs Report

On Friday, June 2, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly employment situation report for May, which is a widely used indicator for the health of the labor market. After bouncing back in April job creation fell sharply in May, a much slower pace than many economists expected. Meanwhile the unemployment rate declined to the lowest since May 2001 as less people participated in the labor market.

Key Insights:

  • U.S. adds 138,000 new jobs in May, a much slower pace of hiring than expected 
  • The unemployment rate fell to 4.3%, a 16-year low and stemmed from people leaving the workforce
  • The labor force participation rate ticked down for the second month to 62.7% from 62.9% in April
  • The size of the labor force constricted by 429,000 people
  • 1st-quarter GDP increased to an annual rate of 1.2%, better than initial read of 0.7%
  • Average wages rose 0.2% to $26.22 an hour last month as companies continue to pay more to attract or maintain talent

The three-month average dropped from a revised 152,000 to 121,000 in May while the trailing twelve-month average improved from 181,000 to 189,000. This report marks the 80th straight month of continuous job growth.

Employment in health care rose by 24,000 in May. Hospitals added 7,000 jobs over the month, and employment in ambulatory health care services continued to trend up (+13,000). Job growth in health care has averaged 22,000 per month thus far in 2017, compared with an average monthly gain of 32,000 in 2016.

Mining added 7,000 jobs in May. Employment in mining has risen by 47,000 since reaching a recent low point in October 2016, with most of the gain in support activities for mining.

In May, employment in professional and business services continued to trend up (+38,000). The industry has added an average of 46,000 jobs per month thus far this year, in line with the average monthly job gain in 2016. 

Employment in food services and drinking places also continued to trend up in May (+30,000) and has grown by 267,000 over the past 12 months. 

Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month. 

Want to know more about the top trends in the job market? Check out the US Labor Market Update from Monster Intelligence.