Lackluster Job Gains in May is Unwelcome News to Job Seekers, College Grads

The announcement by the U.S. Labor Department last Friday for May unemployment numbers may be cause for concern for many, including job seekers and recent college grads. And with changes in the Federal extended unemployment benefits program, the news can appear to be dire for those seeking employment.

In May the Labor Department reported that only 69,000 jobs were added, bringing the unemployment rate to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent. According to analysts, 125,000 jobs need to be added each month to keep unemployment rates steady.

May’s unemployment report is the third consecutive month of weak jobs growth, and the lowest rate of growth reported within the past year. To add more friction to this news, the Labor Department reported that March and April’s jobs numbers were revised down to gains of only 143,000 in March and 77,000 for April. To put this in perspective, average monthly gains were 226,000 for the previous quarter.

 

Currently, 12.7 million Americans remain unemployed – no change from April’s report. May also saw an increase in unemployment rates for specific work groups, including adult men (7.8 percent up from 7.5 in April), and Hispanics (11.0 percent vs. 10.3 reported in April). Rates for adult women (7.4 percent), teenagers (24.6 percent), whites (7.4 percent), and blacks (13.6 percent) remained unchanged. The health care sector continue to add jobs (+33,000), as did transportation and warehousing, both of which added 36,000 jobs over the month. Other sectors that added jobs in May included wholesale trade (+16,000), and manufacturing (+12,000). These gains were offset by declines in construction (-28,000), and professional services (-14,000). Employment in mining and logging, retail trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, changed little in May, said the Labor Department.

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