May 2022 Employment Summary

  • On June 15, 2022

Happy graduation to all college graduates! Staff Solve strives to assist employers and job seekers with information and process hiring, but the overall economic picture of employment trends in the United States and possible factors involved.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 390,000 in May, however, the unemployment rate remained at 3.6% for the third month in a row. Among those unemployed, the number of permanent job losers remained at 1.4 million for the month. The number of persons on temporary layoff was little changed at 810,000. Those who were long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) edged down to 1.4 million and accounted for 23.2% of all unemployed persons.

Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.3%, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.1%, were little changed over the month. The number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons increased by 295,000 in May, reflecting an increase in the number of persons whose hours were cut due to slack work or business conditions. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part-time because their hours had been reduced or they could not find full-time jobs.

Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force, at 1.5 million, changed little this previous month. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months, but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, experienced little change from the prior month (April).

Notable job gains for the month of May occurred in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and in transportation and warehousing while employment in retail trade declined. Leisure and hospitality increased by 84,000 in May, as job growth continued in food services and drinking places (+46,000) and accommodation (+21,000). Professional and business services rose by 75,000 for the month, with notable job gains occurring in accounting and bookkeeping services (+16,000), computer systems design and related services (+13,000), and scientific research and development services (+6,000). 

In May, transportation and warehousing added 47,000 jobs, with increases noted in warehousing and storage (+18,000), truck transportation (+13,000), and air transportation (+6,000). Employment in construction increased by 36,000, following no change in April. In May, job gains occurred in specialty trade contractors (+17,000)

and heavy and civil engineering construction (+11,000). Employment increased by 36,000 in state government education and by 33,000 in private education. Health care rose by 28,000, including a gain in hospitals (+16,000). Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in May (+18,000). Job gains occurred in fabricated metal products (+7,000), wood products (+4,000), and electronic instruments (+3,000). Wholesale trade added 14,000 jobs in May, including gains in durable goods (+10,000) and electronic markets and agents and brokers (+6,000), while mining increased by 6,000. 

Employment in retail trade declined by 61,000 in May, and over the month, job losses were noted in general merchandise stores (-33,000), clothing and clothing accessories stores (-9,000), food and beverage stores (-8,000), building material and garden supply stores (-7,000), and health and personal care stores (-5,000). 

For the month of May, employment showed little change in other major industries, including information, financial activities, and other services.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $31.95 in May. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 5.2%. In May, the average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 15 cents, or 0.6%, to $27.33. 

During the month, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was 34.6 hours for the third month in a row. The manufacturing sector’s average workweek for all employees was little changed at 40.4 hours, and overtime fell by 0.1 hours to 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained unchanged at 34.1 hours. 

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for March was revised down by 30,000, from +428,000 to +398,000, and the change for April was revised up by 8,000, from +428,000 to +436,000. With these revisions, employment in March and April combined is 22,000 lower than previously reported. 

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