The unemployment rate stands at 3.6%, slightly higher than the half-century low recorded in February 2020, before the pandemic hit.
While the number of jobs added has decreased compared to the revised total out of 436,000 in April, much better than forecast. The consensus of economists surveyed by Reuters is that 325,000 jobs have been achieved. And while the unemployment rate did not fall to 3.5% as predicted, it remains at a level considered by many economists to be full employment.
Employment growth is common, with 69% of industries tracked by the Labor Department adding workers. The big exception is retail, the nation’s largest sector in terms of employment. According to the report, in May, there was a net loss of 60,700 retail jobs.
The shortage of available workers helped boost median wages in Friday’s jobs report. The average hourly wage was $31.95, up 5.2% from a year ago. But this is slightly lower than the year-on-year growth rate over the past seven months. And it’s less than the rate at which prices are rising consumers pay for everything from gas to groceries, meaning larger wages haven’t kept pace with inflation.
This story will be updated.