|The economy added 390,000 jobs in May. This is a solid showing and in line with expectations for the month. The economy added 436,000 jobs and 398,000 in April and March respectively.
- Also, the labor force increased by 330,000 in May after declining in April.
But: With 11.4 million job openings businesses continue struggling. Restaurants are closed, construction projects are delayed, etc.
Why it matters: The workforce participation rate is 1.1 percentage points below pre-pandemic. If we had the same participation rate as then, there would be 2.8 million more workers in the labor force.
Be smart: Wages rose 0.3% from April and 5.2% annually from May 2021. Inflation is at about this level, so real wages were flat but not declining.
By the numbers:
- Leisure and hospitality added 84,000 jobs; professional business services 75,000; education and health services 74,000; government 57,000; transportation and warehousing 47,000; and manufacturing 18,000.
- Retail trade lost 61,000 jobs.
Bottom line: Businesses tell us the worker shortage is among their top challenges. It’s impacting the country’s ability to ease supply chain disruptions, get inflation under control, and continue our economic recovery.
—Curtis Dubay, Senior Economist, U.S. Chamber of Commerce