May Jobs Report: Almost All Positive, But Not Good Enough

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  • 559,000 jobs added: 492,000 private sector plus 67,000 government. The alternate and more volatile measure in the household report indicated a gain of 444,000 jobs, which factors into the unemployment and underemployment rates below.
  • The total number of employed is still 7,629,000, or 5.0% below its pre-pandemic peak. At the rate jobs have grown this year, it will take another 12 months for employment to completely recover.
  • The U3 unemployment rate declined -0.3% to 5.8%, compared with the January 2020 low of 3.5%.
  • U6 underemployment rate declined -0.2% to 10.2%, compared with the January 2020 low of 6.9%.
  • Those on temporary layoff declined -291,000 to 1,823,000.
  • Permanent job losers declined -295,000 to 3,234,000.
  • March was revised upward by 15,000, while April was revised upward by 12,000, for a net gain of 27,000 jobs compared with previous reports.

Leading employment indicators of a slowdown or recession

These are leading sectors for the economy overall and will help us gauge how strong the rebound from the pandemic will be. These were mainly positive: 

  • the average manufacturing workweek increased 0.1 hour to 40.5 hours. This is one of the 10 components of the LEI.
  • Manufacturing jobs gained 23,000. Since the beginning of the pandemic, manufacturing has still lost -509,000, or 4.0% of the total.
  • Construction jobs declined -20,000. Since the beginning of the pandemic,  -225,000 construction jobs have been lost, or 2.9% of the total.
  • Residential construction jobs, which are even more leading, rose by 4,400. Since the beginning of the pandemic,  32,400 jobs have been gained in this sector or 3.9%.
  • temporary jobs rose by 4,400. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have still been -294,100 jobs lost or 10.0% of all temporary jobs.
  • the number of people unemployed for 5 weeks or less declined by -391,000 to 2,023,000, which is  -59,000 *less* than just before the pandemic hit.
  • Professional and business employment increased by 35,000, which is still -708,000, or about 3.3%, below its pre-pandemic peak.
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Disclaimer: This blog contains opinions and observations. It is not professional advice in any way, shape or form and should not be construed that way. In other words, buyer beware.

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