Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- The Employment Situation
Nonfarm payrolls rose 431,000 in May, almost entirely on a 411,000 boost from temporary Census takers. Private nonfarm payrolls inched up just 41,000 in May, compared to an average gain of 146,000 over the prior three months. Also, revisions subtracted an additional 29,000 from private payrolls over April and March. On the goods-producing side, construction employment fell by 35,000 during the month, resuming its string of losses after gains of 14,000 in April and 27,000 in March.
Since December 2007, construction employment has fallen by 1.9 million workers (or roughly 25 percent). On the brighter side, manufacturing payrolls increased by 29,000, driven by broad-based gains in the durables sector, where employment rose for the fifth consecutive month. Private service-providing employment increased by just 37,000 in May, following gains of 156,000 in April and 101,000 in March. Service-sector employment was again bolstered by an increase in temporary help services (up 31,000), as retail trade payrolls fell 9,000 and financial activities employment edged down 12,000. Average weekly hours of production and nonsupervisory workers continued to improve, ticking up 0.1 hour to 33.5 hours, their highest level since October 2008. Also, factory overtime hours rose 0.2 hour to 4.1 hours, their highest level since the first few months of 2008, which is closing in on their 2004–07 average of 4.4 hours. On the household side, the unemployment rate slipped down to 9.7 percent in May, but that came as 322,000 individuals left the labor force and the labor force participation rate fell 0.2 percentage point (pp) to 65.0 percent. A less noisy barometer of labor market conditions, the employment-to-population ratio, fell 0.2 pp to 58.7 percent in May.