Job Growth Slows in May to 75,000

Unemployment Maintains Record-Low Level of 3.6%

JOB GROWTH: The month of May saw a significant pullback in jobs growth, as the employment market added 75,000 new jobs—the lowest gain since February. This followed revisions in the figures from the two previous months that represented a combined 75,000 fewer new jobs. Based on the revised numbers, job gains per month over the last three months averaged 151,000.

TOP INDUSTRIES: The most active sectors in May included professional and business services and healthcare.

UNEMPLOYMENT: The unemployment rate remained at 3.6% in May, maintaining a 50-year record low.

WAGES: May brought another monthly increase in average wages. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1%.

WORK WEEK: The average work week was unchanged at 34.4 hours in May.

TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS: The temporary help sector added 5,100 jobs in May, fewer than last month but still a positive trend.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? Worries over tariffs and trade negotiations may have contributed to the slower pace of job growth in May, or it could be a strong signal that the candidate market is too tight to allow for the increased hiring needed for continued growth. Employers seem to be unanimous in their belief that it is becoming more challenging to fill jobs. Some have altered traditional hiring requirements, while others have invested more in retention efforts as well as training and upskilling. Job growth remains positive, however, and wage pressure continues, particularly at the lower end of the pay scale.

This newsletter references the BLS Report of May activity, released 6/7/19.

Sources:U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, CNBC, CBS News, Staffing Industry Analysts, The New York Times, USA Today, Forbes, Bloomberg, FOX News, MSNBC, Reuters


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