US Economy Adds 175,000 Jobs in May
Modest gains were seen in job creation this month with the economy adding 175,000 jobs in May, and the unemployment rate essentially unchanged at 7.6 percent. While that marked an increase in hiring last month, the numbers were met with some disappointment from economists who were expecting much higher gains this month. Over the past year, employment growth has averaged 172,000 per month. The nation did see significant gains in a few key sectors such as, professional and business services, retail trade and healthcare.
Employment in professional and business services added 57,000 in May, with temporary help services contributing 26,000 more jobs this month. Temporary help services reached a new high in terms of employment this month, surpassing the previous high just more than 13 years ago in April 2000. The computer systems design and related services sector added 6,000 and architectural and engineering increased by 5,000 jobs. Employment in professional and business services has grown by 589,000 during the past year.
A Closer Look at Unemployment Rates
The top jobs with the lowest unemployment rates for 2013 include fields in areas from healthcare and finance to administrative support. Although the national unemployment rate continues to hover around 7.5 percent, there are several occupations that boast rates much lower:
- Business and Financial Occupations – 4.2 percent
- Computer Occupations – 1.7 percent
- Healthcare Practitioner Occupations – 2.4 percent
- Office and Administrative Support Occupations – 6.2 percent
A Closer Look at Confidence Levels
It’s fair to say consumer and worker confidence levels are a mixed bag this month. When it comes to consumer confidence, good news came out of the Conference Board recently reporting a jump in the consumer confidence index to the highest level in five years. The index of consumer attitudes jumped to 76.2 from an upwardly revised 69 in April, topping economists’ expectations for 71. It was the best level since February 2008.
The Randstad Employee Confidence Index, which measures worker confidence, including micro- and macro-economic trends, also reached its highest number since 2008 last month. However, a slight dip of 2.2 points to 54.8 was recorded in May. The index also revealed the Macro Confidence Index, a measure of confidence in the strength of the economy and number of jobs available, decreased 4.2 points this month. However, while employee confidence decreased in areas such as the economy, workers still show signs of optimism in their ability to get a job, with 48 percent indicating so.