Jobs Growth Misses Target; Unemployment Rate Drops

Fewer jobs than expected — alas, many fewer private sector jobs — were created in May, suggesting that employers are still not ready to begin hiring in any numbers. So expect a bumpy day in the financial markets.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that 431,000 jobs were created last month. That would be a strong signal of a return to historic hiring were it not that 411,000 of those jobs are temporary positions for the U.S. Census.  “Private-sector employment changed little (+41,000),” the BLS blandly stated.

There was improvement in the unemployment rate, which fell to 9.7 percent from 9.9 percent; small consolation when economists were predicting job growth of over half a million, with at least 100,000 from the private sector.

Furthering tempering the jobs numbers was a revision to the March number, decreasing the initial 230,000 estimate to 208,000. April’s increase of 290,000 jobs added was unchanged.

Construction was the big loser, down 35,000 jobs. However, manufacturing added 29,000  jobs for the month, the fifth month in a row of gains. Temp help services was also a big gainer, adding 31,000. The sector is considered a bell cow of recovery on the belief that before employers add full-time workers, they bring in temp help. Since September, the sector has added 362,000 jobs.

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Another sign is the continuing growth in the hourly work week. The report said the average week grew to 34.2 hours, up by .1 hour. For manufacturing employees, the workweek increased by .3 hours to an average of 40.5.

Among the unemployed, 46 percent have been out of work for more than six months. That translates into 6.8 million of the 15 million unemployed. Another 8.8 million are working part time because they can’t find anything else. And 2.2 million are counted as “marginally attached” because they have looked for work, but can’t find anything. They don’t officially get counted as unemployed because they didn’t seek work during the four weeks prior to the BLS survey.

Private-sector em-
ployment changed little (+41,000)

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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7 Comments on “Jobs Growth Misses Target; Unemployment Rate Drops

  1. Keith Sez:

    The Great Recession is over when we have three straight months of 7.0% or less of unemployment.

    Your thoughts….

    Keith Halperin

  2. Hmmm. If some people are doing well and *26 million aren’t, it’s because the 26 million don’t have have POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE and THE GET UP AND GO to become multi-millionaires in this land of uncapped income potential where the sky’s the limit and any hard-charging, self-starters who want it and work hard enough can grab the brassring if not the low-hanging fruit, because this is AMERICA where “I’ve got mine, now you get yours, unless I get yours, too.”

    Cheers,

    Keith “A Country’s Greatness Is Not Determined by How Well It Treats Its Millionnaires” Halperin

    *Among the unemployed, 46 percent have been out of work for more than six months. That translates into 6.8 million of the 15 million unemployed. Another 8.8 million are working part time because they can’t find anything else. And 2.2 million are counted as “marginally attached” because they have looked for work, but can’t find anything.

  3. The market can’t make up it’s mind. Things turned undeniably for the better starting in March (some claim April) but since then we all keep wishing for the real momentum to kick in and instead we’re lurching. For every 2 steps forward there is one back. For instance, most recruiters that specialize in sales positions say those jobs have been on fire for the past 3 months – they are now 1 out of every 5 jobs on our marketplace. However at the same time I hear of a slowdown amongst healthcare recruiters (big exception: pharmacy). Still bullish – if the euro stays together we’ll see stronger growth this summer (did I really just say that?)

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