WASHINGTON (June 1, 2012) — Organizations representing U.S. manufacturers expressed disappointment at the weak job growth figures for May 2012, issued today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
“The new recession-like jobs and GDP figures show what Americans get when massive U.S. trade deficits siphon overseas the benefits of spending-focused stimulus programs — virtually no job creation or growth at home,” said Alan Tonelson, research fellow at the U.S. Business & Industry Council.
Nonfarm payroll employment increased by only 69,000 jobs in May, compared with a revised total of 77,000 in April 2012 and a monthly average of 252,000 between December 2011 and February 2012, according to the BLS report. The unemployment rate inched up 0.1 percentage point to 8.2 percent.
The May numbers were even worse than they appeared at first glance, Mr. Tonelson said. Most of the jobs created during the month were in sectors such as health care and social services, which are heavily subsidized by government spending, he said.
The May jobs report was terrible news, according to Scott Paul, executive director for the Alliance of American Manufacturing, a coalition of U.S. manufacturing firms and the United Steelworkers union.
“We see a palpable slowdown in manufacturing hiring,” Mr. Paul said. “The April manufacturing jobs number was revised substantially downward to 9,000 jobs gained, from 16,000. The May manufacturing jobs number is 12,000, well below the trend of steady factory job growth since 2012.”
Mr. Paul blamed the trade deficit, Chinese currency devaluation and the failure of Congress to pass a highway bill for the low job numbers.
“If either party wants the support of blue-collar voters, they would be wise to offer concrete actions that will boost manufacturing while also getting a lot tougher on China's cheating,” he said.
Job creation was stagnant in small business for the month, according to William C. Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business.
“To the surprise of many, the ability to find qualified applicants for available jobs continues to plague the small business community,” Mr. Dunkelberg said. Fifty-one percent of small business owners in the most recent NFIB survey tried to hire new workers, he said, but 73 percent of those who tried to hire — or 37 percent of total respondents - found few or no qualified applicants.