The U.S. economy added 138,000 jobs in May and unemployment was little changed at 4.3%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A troubling sign, reinforcing the weakness of the numbers, was the revision of the preliminary numbers for March and April downward, a combined 60,000 fewer jobs than earlier reported. That normally indicates a slowing in net job creation from new firms being created and old firms going out of business. This continues the recovery of the labor market at a tempered rate, which means the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee should continue to let the economy grow at this rate and not raise interest rates.
In response to the May jobs numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs tweeted:
The slow recovery in the Prime Age EPOP affirms the labor market is healing, but not healed https://t.co/OqofB9PnnU— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) June 2, 2017
After a trend since 2014 of slowly recovering, state and local government employment slows, down 8,000 in states and 9,000 in local @AFSCME— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) June 2, 2017
Last month's biggest job gains were in professional and business services (38,000), food services and drinking places (30,000), health care (24,000), and mining (7,000). 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.
Among the major worker groups, unemployment rates in May decreased for blacks (7.5%), adult men (3.8%), adult women (4.0%) and teenagers (14.3%). Unemployment was up slightly for Asians (3.6%) and was essentially unchanged for Hispanics (5.2%).
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed in May and accounted for 24.0% of the unemployed.