U.S. adds jobs in May; unemployment inches up
WASHINGTON (June 5, 2015) — Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 280,000 jobs in May, but the unemployment rate inched up to 5.5 percent from April's 5.4 percent, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The biggest job gains were in professional and business services (up 63,000 jobs), leisure and hospitality (up 57,000 jobs) health care (up 47,000 jobs) and retail trade (up 31,000 jobs), according to the BLS.
Manufacturing, however, increased by only 7,000 jobs, and transportation and warehousing by only 9,000. Wholesale trade also was virtually unchanged, the agency said.
Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, noted manufacturing's weak job performance in a statement issued June 5, the same day the May employment data came out.
“I'm glad the number is positive, but it's clear the strong dollar and a surge in manufacturing imports over the last few months are dampening manufacturing job growth,” Mr. Paul said.
Meanwhile, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said a survey of its members showed hiring to be strong for the fifth consecutive month. Fifty-five percent of the May respondents reported hiring or trying to hire during the month.
“For the second time this year, a high of 29 percent had openings they couldn't fill, a high we hadn't seen since April 2006,” said NFIB Chief Economist William C. Dunkelberg. “This is a strong indication that the unemployment rate will decline further.”
Two days before the BLS figures, payroll services firm ADP Inc. issued its own monthly employment figures, based on its own payroll records. According to ADP, the U.S. added 201,000 nonfarm jobs in May.
Of those jobs, 122,000 were created by small businesses, ADP said — 75,000 in companies of one to 19 employees and 47,000 in companies of 20-49 employees.
Medium-sized businesses — those with 50 to 499 employees — created 85,000 jobs in May, according to ADP. But large businesses added only 13,000 jobs during the month, it said. Businesses with 500-999 employees actually lost 3,000 jobs, the firm said.
Private sector franchise jobs rose by 14,700 in May, according to ADP, with auto parts and dealers accounted for 2,360 of those jobs.
These job figures reflected the mostly modest growth patterns recorded by the Federal Reserve in its most recent Beige Book, issued June 3.
Of the 12 Federal Reserve districts, Richmond, Chicago, Minneapolis and San Francisco saw moderate economic growth between early April and late May, according to the Beige Book. Other districts saw modest to mixed growth, with growth actually retreating slightly in Dallas.
Manufacturing generally held steady, while overall vehicle sales increased, the Beige Book said. Freight and transportation services activity were mixed, though port activity increased in Richmond, Atlanta and Dallas, it said.
Issued every several weeks, the Beige Book summarizes information the Federal Reserve gathers from businesses and other contacts. Each Federal Reserve district bank takes turns compiling the document; the current Beige Book was the work of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
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