May 2015 Employment Situation Report

Employment Summary for
May 2015

According to the most recent Employment Situation Summary released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation added jobs during the month of May, despite a slight increase in the overall unemployment rate.

Employment Situation Report May 2015

U.S. adds 280,000 jobs
Overall, total nonfarm payroll increased by 280,000 positions in May, compared to a growth of just over 250,000 jobs in April. From an industry perspective, the most gains were seen in the professional and business services field, which added 63,000 jobs. Within this sector, the areas that saw the largest increases included computer systems design and related services, temporary help services, management and technical consulting services, and architectural and engineering services.

The leisure and hospitality field increased its workforce by 57,000 jobs in May, with nearly 30,000 of those positions coming from the arts, entertainment and recreation sector. Healthcare gained 47,000 positions, most of which were associated with ambulatory care services, including home healthcare services and outpatient care centers, and hospitals. The retail sector gained over 30,000 positions in May, with automobile dealers adding the most jobs in this industry, while financial activities grew by 13,000 jobs.

Employment was relatively unchanged in manufacturing, wholesale trade, information and government, while the mining industry lost jobs for the fifth consecutive month.

Unemployment rate increases despite job gains
Even though the country added a significant number of jobs, the nation’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 5.4 percent to 5.5 percent. The number of employed people remained essentially unchanged at 8.7 million. The number of unemployed new entrants, or people who have never worked but are now attempting to enter the workforce, grew by 103,000 this month, contributing to a slightly higher jobless rate.

Salaries increased in May, with average hourly earnings going from $24.88 to $24.96. In the past 12 months, hourly wages have grown by 2.3 percent. Average hourly compensation for private-sector production and non-supervisory employees increased by 6 cents to $20.97.

The New York Times explained that this modest employment growth was an overall positive sign for the U.S. economy. The trade balance improved, shrinking by $50.6 billion. Additionally, the number of people applying for unemployment benefits has been on the decline, remaining around a 15-year low for the past 13 weeks. While household spending is still somewhat conservative, falling gas prices will likely encourage more people to loosen their budgets in the coming months.  As a result of these positive indicators, the source added that analysts generally expect the Fed to be ready by its September meeting to raise its benchmark interest rate above zero for the first time since December 2008.

View the full Bureau of Labor Statistics report here.

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April 2015 Employment Situation Report

The most recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the job market rebounded throughout the month of April, contributing to a lower unemployment rate.

Job creation on the rise
Overall, the nation added 223,000 jobs during April. Although this was slightly lower than the 224,000 jobs projected by economists, it demonstrated a return to the positive growth trend seen over the last 12 months, compared to the 85,000 positions added in March. About 62,000 of these jobs were in the professional and business service sectors, which had been averaging just 35,000 new positions each month. Within this larger field, services to buildings and dwellings added 16,000 positions, computer systems design and related services added 9,000 jobs, business support services grew its workforce by 7,000 and technical consulting services expanded by 6,000 positions.

The healthcare industry created 45,000 jobs in April, with ambulatory care services gaining 25,000 positions, hospitals adding 12,000 jobs and residential care facilities expanding by 8,000 positions. The construction industry also experienced growth after having a stagnant March. The field gained 45,000 positions, with 41,000 of these jobs being specialty trade contractors. Transportation and warehousing gained 15,000 jobs. Sectors that saw little change in April included manufacturing, wholesale trade, information, retail trade, leisure and hospitality, government and financial activities.

Unemployment Rate and Job Creation

Unemployment rate ticks down
As a result of this significant job growth, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped slightly to an average of 5.4 percent. Bloomberg Business reported that this is the lowest jobless rate the country has seen since May 2008.

The BLS report revealed that wages grew as well. Average hourly earnings went up by 3 cents to $24.87, while average hourly earnings for private sector production and non-supervisory employees grew by 2 cents to $20.90. Bloomberg explained that while any compensation increases are a positive sign of growth, these minuscule expansions are unexpectedly low compared to rates of overall job growth.

“The pace of employment is quite encouraging. Wage growth is accelerating, but it’s quite gradual, more gradual than we would expect in a market where the unemployment rate is 5.4 percent,” Gregory Daco, head of U.S. macroeconomics at Oxford Economics USA Inc., told Bloomberg.

The New York Times reported that the April employment data suggests the Federal Reserve will not be in any rush to take it’s long-awaited first step in raising short-term interest rates, which have been near zero since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008. According to the source, most experts now expect the Feds to move in September or beyond as the probable beginning of any gradual tightening effort by the central bank.

View the full Bureau of Labor Statistics report here.

March 2015 Employment Situation Report

While the unemployment rate remained stable for the month of March, and job growth was lower than expected, the U.S. continued to add jobs across a variety of sectors.

Workforce grows as employment situation remains stable

According to the Employment Situation released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country’s unemployment rate did not change during March, remaining at a steady 5.5 percent. The overall number of people in the workforce was 8.6 million, up 126,000 from February.

Between March 2014 and March 2015 the number of employed people has increased by 1.8 million, contributing to a 1.1 percent drop in the unemployment rate. The report explained that the civilian labor force experienced little change this month, staying solid at 62.7 percent. Notably, this number has mostly stayed between 62.7 and 62.9 percent since April 2014.

New Picture (1)

Healthcare, retail and business services expand hiring

The 126,000 new positions were spread among a variety of fields. The industry that added the most workers this month was the professional and business services sector, which grew by 40,000. Within this general field some of the areas where hiring went up included engineering services, management and technical consulting services, and computer systems design and related services. Healthcare also saw a larger workforce in March, growing by 22,000 employees. Most of these jobs pertained to ambulatory care and hospitals. Within this sector, nursing care facilities shrank by 9,000 positions. The retail industry continued its growth, adding 26,000 jobs.

One of the fields that lost positions this month was mining, which shrank by 11,000 workers. This industry added 41,000 jobs last year, but so far has lost 30,000 jobs in 2015. Many other industries, including food service, manufacturing, construction, government, financial activities, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade changed very little throughout March.

Wages on the rise

The report indicated that hourly earnings increased for workers this month, going up by 7 cents to equal $24.86. This number has increased by 2.1 percent over the past 12 months. The average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to rest at $20.86.

Economists anticipated more growth

While the report is stable, economists had predicted much larger growth, explained Nasdaq. Industry experts had anticipated that the nation would add 248,000 new jobs this month, while the actual number was significantly less. The source noted the Federal Reserve acknowledges that March’s report fell flat in the face of economists’ predictions, but it is not worried that the country’s economy is declining. If numbers get back on track to improving at higher rates, the organization plans to increase interest rates.

View the full Bureau of Labor Statistics report here.