June 6, 2014

The economy added 217,000 jobs in May, bringing the average over the last three months to 234,000. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.3 percent in May. This is due to the fact that the 0.4 percentage point plunge in labor force participation reported for April was not reversed. At 62.8 percent, the labor force participation rate is at its lowest level since March of 1978.

The job gains were concentrated in four industries which accounted for half of total job growth in the month: health care (33,600), restaurants (31,700), social assistance (21,300) and employment services (20,200). The jump in health care seemed to be somewhat of an anomaly. It compares to an average of just 18,000 jobs a month over the last year. There had not been a noticeable uptick since the ACA took effect in January, so this growth will likely be partially reversed in the months ahead. The increase in jobs in social assistance was also an anomaly. The monthly data in this category are often erratic, but it has added just 97,500 jobs over the last year.

Job Growth, Select Industries, 2007 - 2014

For more, see the latest Jobs Byte.