Total U.S. jobs

National economy added 272,000 jobs in May

Nonfarm payroll job growth rose by 272,000 workers in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, rebounding from the gain of 165,000 seen in April. This was stronger than the consensus expectations of around 190,000 employees being added in the month. Overall, U.S. job growth remains solid, with 1,239,000 net new workers added year to date. 

Overall, these data show that the labor market remains a bright spot, helping to provide resilience to economic growth and for increased spending. Nonfarm payroll employment has risen for 41 consecutive months, adding 16.0 million jobs in that period. As a result of the steady gains, total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment stood 6.2 million (or 4.1%) above the February 2020 pre-pandemic peak, rising to a new record level: 158.5 million. 

The unemployment rate ticked up from 3.9% in April to 4.0% in May, remaining a strong figure despite rising to the highest rate since January 2022. The number of unemployed Americans rose from 6,492,000 to 6,649,000. At the same time, the labor force participation rate slipped from 62.7% to 62.5%. 

Average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers among private sector workers rose 4.2% over the past 12 months, up from 4.1% year-over-year in April. The labor market remains tight but has seen some cooling over the past couple of years. For reference, year-over-year earnings growth peaked at 7.0% in March 2022. 

Job growth continued across both the private and public sectors in May, including a gain of 24,600 for eating and drinking places . The private sector added a net 229,000 jobs in May, while government employment increased by 43,000. Here is a breakdown of the employment growth in May by sector (ranked from highest to least): 

•    Private education and health services (up 86,000)

•    Leisure and hospitality (up 42,000, including 24,600 for eating and drinking places)

•    Local government (up 34,000)

•    Professional and business services (up 33,000)

•    Trade, transportation and utilities (up 27,000, including 12,600 for retail sales)

•    Construction (up 21,000)

•    Financial activities (up 10,000)

•    Manufacturing (up 6,000) 

•    Other services (up 6,000)

•    Federal government (up 4,000)

•    State government (up 5,000)

•    Information (unchanged)

•    Mining and logging (down 4,000)


Track more economic indicators and read more analysis and commentary from the Association's economists.