US employers added 390,000 jobs in May

Jun 3, 2022

 A ''Now Hiring sign hangs above the entrance to a McDonald's restaurant on November 05, 2021 in Miami Beach, Florida.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 05: A ''Now Hiring" sign hangs above the entrance to a McDonald's restaurant on November 05, 2021 in Miami Beach, Florida. Photo credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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U.S. employers added 390,000 jobs in May as the unemployment rate stayed at 3.6%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday in their monthly Employment Situation Summary.

In comparison, the unemployment rate was slightly more than the 3.5% it was back in February of 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The field that saw the biggest gain last month was in leisure and hospitality with 84,000 new jobs, while professional and business services, and transportation and warehousing also saw notable gains.

There were 47,000 jobs added in transportation and warehousing, as the field has climbed to 709,000 above its February 2020 level. Construction jobs also saw an increase of 36,000 in May, and has gone up by 40,000 since the pandemic.

Retail trade jobs declined in May by 61,000, however, it still has 159,000 more jobs than it did in February of 2020. Merchandise stores were down 33,000 jobs in May, while clothing stores were down 9,000, and food and beverage stores were down 8,000.

Economic experts had originally predicted that employers would add about 328,000 jobs in May, according to CNBC. The total of new jobs in May was down from the revised total of 436,000 jobs in April.

May's job total was the lowest monthly increase since April of 2021, but Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor’s senior economist, believes the job market will remain healthy.

"Despite the slight cooldown, the tight labor market is clearly sticking around and is shrugging off fears of a downturn," Zhao said. "We continue to see signs of a healthy and competitive job market, with no signs of stepping on the brakes yet."

According to CNN Business, there has been an average increase of about 850,000 jobs per month following the large amount of losses at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Sophia Koropeckyj, a managing director at Moody's Analytics, said that "the labor market is heading toward complete recovery from the pandemic."

The jobs report noted that the average hourly earnings increased by 0.3%, or 10 cents, to $31.95 in May. Over the last year, average hourly earnings have gone up by 5.2%.

"Given all the talk we’ve heard about recession and economic headwinds, it was very reassuring to see a solid jobs number," Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo, told the Associated Press.

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