The U.S. economy gained 559,000 jobs in May. The numbers improved over April, but still lagged behind expectations. Employers report they struggle to find job candidates, while some economists say that the economy may need time to get into a consistent rhythm. The unemployment rate fell to 5.8%. Year-over-year wage growth was at 2%.
559,000: The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May.
5.8%: The unemployment rate fell to 5.8%.
2%: Wages grew 2% over the past year.
After a disappointing jobs report in April, May’s job gains show a notable improvement. The biggest job gains occurred in the leisure and hospitality sector, as rising vaccination numbers and falling infection rates drove an increase in dining. The New York Times reports that job postings on Indeed were 27% higher in May of 2021 than February of 2020, before the pandemic hit. However, economists predict job growth to vary greatly month to month, as the economy normalizes after a long period of uncertainty.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the jobs numbers fell short of economist expectations, and the jobs numbers continue to lag behind other economic indicators, like consumer spending. Some employers report a shortage of job applicants, and economists say there could be several factors contributing – including early retirements, childcare responsibilities, health concerns, low pay and enhanced unemployment benefits. The labor participation rate changed little, indicating that many workers who were sidelined during the pandemic have not yet reentered the job market.
Though economists agree that the economy is on track to continue growing, there are a number of factors that could impact that rate of growth. MarketWatch reports that key material shortages are causing issues in industries like manufacturing and construction. Experts predict that the labor shortage should improve in the fall, as children return to school and propel more parents back into the workforce. Lingering fears over the coronavirus are expected to abate as vaccinations continue to rise and cases plummet