Job Growth Slows in May

 

Job growth in the U.S. has slowed considerably since the first quarter. In May, nonfarm payrolls grew by 69,000, following similar lackluster growth of 77,000 the previous month, as reported today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In comparison, the average monthly gain was 226,000 in the first quarter of 2012.

Employment gains in health care (33,000), transportation and warehousing (36,000), wholesale trade (16,000), and manufacturing (12,000) showed some promise.

Within the health care industry, employment in ambulatory health care services increased by 23,000. Overall, health care has added 340,000 jobs since the start of the year.

Following losses in April, employment was up in transit and ground transportation (20,000) and in couriers and messengers (5,000). Truck transportation also added 7,000 jobs in May.

Employment gains in fabricated metal products (6,000) and in primary metals (4,000) gave manufacturing a boost over the month. Since the industry’s most recent low in January 2010, manufacturing has added 495,000 jobs.

On the flip side, construction declined by 28,000 jobs, with losses occurring in specialty trade contactors (18,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (11,000).

The BLS reported little change in other major industries, such as professional and business services, mining and logging, retail trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government.

The number of unemployed (12.7 million) and the unemployment rate (8.2%) held steady over the month while the number of long-term unemployed (those without a job for more than 27 weeks), involuntary part-time workers (those with hours cut or not able to find full-time work), and persons marginally attached to the workforce (those wanting and available to work but not actively seeking a job for four weeks preceding the survey) remained on the rise.

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