BLS Jobs Report: 280,000 Jobs Added, Unemployment at 5.5 Percent

This morning’s Employment Situation Summary from the labor department exceeded economists’ predictions and showed an increase in average hourly earnings as well. The economy added 280,000 jobs last month, more than the 225,000 predicted by economists, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.5 percent (compared with 5.4 percent for the previous month). In addition, March and April’s reports were revised upward by a combined 32,000 jobs.


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“This is a confirmation that the economy is performing well and the first quarter was an aberration,” said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust, speaking with The New York Times.

Tannenbaum was also “heartened” by the growth in average wages, which increased 8 cents an hour to $24.96.

“It’s good for workers and also a sign that capacity in the labor market is being utilized more fully,” he told The Times.

The PayScale Index, which measures the change in wages for all U.S. workers, forecasts a 0.7 percent increase in earnings for Q2 as a whole.

The following sectors showed gains last month:

  • Professional and business services: 63,000 jobs added, including 10,000 in computer systems design, 20,000 in temporary help services, 7,000 in management and technical consulting services, and 5,000 in architectural and engineering services.
  • Leisure and hospitality: 57,000 jobs added, including 29,000 in arts, entertainment, and recreation. Food services and drinking places were essentially flat for May, April, and March.
  • Healthcare: 47,000 jobs added, including 28,000 in ambulatory care services, including home health care services, while hospitals added 16,000 jobs.
  • Retail trade: 31,000 jobs added, including 8,000 jobs in automobile dealers.
  • Construction: 17,000 jobs added.
  • Transportation and warehousing: 13,000 jobs added, including 9,000 in truck transportation.
  • Financial activities: 13,000 jobs added.

Mining jobs declined for the fifth month, with a loss of 17,000 jobs in May. Manufacturing, wholesale trade, government, and information were flat for the month.

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