Today's employment report
paints a somewhat bleak and mixed picture of current U.S. labor market conditions, with an increase of only 69,000 payroll jobs in May (less than half of the 150,000 consensus expectation) and an increase in the May jobless rate to 8.2%. While most reactions to the job data could be best described as "disappointment," here are a few bright spots in today's report:
1. Manufacturing payrolls increased in May by 12,000, which was the eighth consecutive monthly gain in factory jobs, and the 18th monthly increase out of the last 19 months. For the 11th straight month, the manufacturing jobless rate (7.1%) was below the national rate (7.7% NSA). Manufacturing employment at just below 12 million in May was at the highest level in slightly more than three years, since April 2009. Since 2010, manufacturing employment has increased by almost 500,000 jobs.
2. The more comprehensive measure of employed workers from the May household survey (includes self-employed workers) increased by 422,000 jobs last month, and has shown an increase of almost 1.5 million jobs this year, vs. the 823,000 increase in payroll employment from January to May. Total civilian employment in May of 142.3 million was the highest since December 2008, more than three years ago.
3. Temporary help employment for professional and business services
increased in May to almost 2.5 million jobs, reaching the highest employment level for those workers in more than four years going back to February 2008. With continued growth in temporary employment this summer, the number of temporary jobs in the U.S. economy should exceed pre-recession levels sometime this summer.
4. The jobless rate for college graduates fell to 3.9% in May
, the lowest unemployment rate for that group since December 2008, almost three and-a-half years ago.
: Scott Grannis
provides some of his always-insightful commentary (and graphs) on today's jobs report:
"So I think the market's reaction to today's news has been excessively
pessimistic. I don't see convincing signs of deterioration in the
outlook; I see an economy that continues to grow at a sub-par pace, and
that's been the case for the most of the past three years."