The US labor market continues to show strength, with employers adding 339,000 jobs in May, surpassing economists’ expectations. This job growth marked an acceleration from the revised upward figure of 294,000 in April. The unemployment rate did rise slightly to 3.7% from 3.4%, driven in part by individuals who lost their jobs permanently or completed temporary positions. The labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 62.6%.
The increase in job openings spanned various sectors, including professional and business services, government, health care, leisure, and hospitality. Construction, transportation, and warehousing also experienced job growth. The resilience of sectors like leisure and hospitality can be attributed to consumers engaging in summer travel and dining out, leading to increased hiring demand.
Despite a surge in unemployment lasting 15 to 26 weeks, with 179,000 more people falling into this category, the US labor market continues to defy expectations. Becky Frankiewicz, President and Chief Commercial Officer of ManpowerGroup, noted that with 339,000 job openings, the labor market is rewriting the rule book.
While job growth has slowed compared to the booming recovery year of 2021, with an average of 312,000 positions added per month in the first five months of 2023, it remains higher than the pre-pandemic average of 163,000 jobs added per month in 2019. This sustained growth indicates the resilience and strength of the US economy, as it continues to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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