May Employment Numbers Charge Forward

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The U.S. Department of Labor released its Employment Situation numbers for the month of May early on Friday. The Bloomberg consensus estimate was 190,000 nonfarm payrolls, but it actually came in higher at 223,000. The unemployment rate more or less hit the mark at 3.8%, just below the expected 3.9%.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5%), blacks (5.9%) and Asians (2.1%) decreased in May. The jobless rates for adult women (3.3%), teenagers (12.8%), whites (3.5%) and Hispanics (4.9%) changed little over the month.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons was essentially unchanged at 4.9 million in May.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in May, compared with an average monthly gain of 191,000 over the prior 12 months. Over the month, employment continued to trend upward in several industries, including retail trade (+31,000), health care (+29,000) and construction (+25,000).

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in May. The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by eight cents to $26.92.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for March was revised up from +135,000 to +155,000, and the change for April was revised down from +164,000 to +159,000. With these revisions, employment gains in March and April combined were 15,000 more than previously reported. After revisions, job gains have averaged 179,000 over the past three months.