280,000 jobs gained in May; U.S. surpasses 1 million jobs added in 2015
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ June 5 employment summary reports total nonfarm payroll employment
increased by 280,000 jobs in May, compared to average monthly gains of 251,000 in the 12 months prior
to May. Higher than anticipated job gains suggest the March decline was only temporary and has many
economists believing the U.S. economy is back on track and positioned for positive growth. Moreover, the
total number of jobs added to the U.S. economy since the beginning of 2015 has now surpassed 1 million.
However, due in part to an increased number of U.S. citizens entering the labor market and actively
looking for work, the unemployment rate edged up slightly (+0.01%) to 5.5 percent from its seven-year
low of 5.4 percent in April.
Randstad's U.S. Employee Confidence Index (ECI)
Indicating the strongest confidence levels reported since 2004, Randstad’s U.S. ECI rose to 62.3 at the
close of first quarter 2015, up from 59.0 in the previous quarter. The increase suggests employed
workers are exceptionally confident in the U.S. economy and overall job market, another positive
indicator that the economy is on the upswing.
U.S. Job Gains
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 280,000 in May. March job gains were revised from
+85,000 to +119,000, and April gains were revised from +223,000 to +221,000—resulting in 32,000
more gains than previously reported.
Over the past three months, job gains have averaged over +207,000 per month.
U.S. Unemployment Rate
The unemployment rate rose slightly (+0.1%) to 5.5 percent from its seven-year low of 5.4 percent in
April, but this uptick can be partially attributed to an increased number of U.S. citizens entering the
labor market and actively looking for work—another positive economic indicator.
U.S. Unemployment Rate by Industry
In May, substantial job gains occurred in healthcare (+47,000) and professional and business services (+63,000). Job gains in financial activities (+13,0000) and manufacturing (+7,000) also trended upward, while gains in information (-3,000) decreased slightly. However, despite the minor decrease, the information industry has added 60,000 jobs on net over the past 12 months.
A year-over-year comparison shows the unemployment rate has decreased significantly in manufacturing, information, financial activities, education/health and professional and business services since May 2014.
Temporary Help Services Sector
The temporary help services sector continues to trend upward from earlier declines in January and
February, adding more than 20,000 temp jobs in May.
Average Weekly Earnings
Average hourly earnings have risen by 2.3 percent over the year, and average hourly earnings for
private-sector workers increased by eight cents to $24.96 in May. This uptick in pay marks the fastest
hourly earnings growth since the summer of 2013.
May’s strong job growth indicates confidence levels are high among employers and employees and the
U.S. labor market is growing with momentum.