Make us your home page
Instagram

U.S. employers add 175,000 jobs; unemployment rate up to 7.6%

Job seeker Craig Cline of Lincolnwood, Ill., right, meets with Jeremy Skeeters, left, and Lindy Hammel of Aflac Insurance Co. during a career fair in Rolling Meadows, Ill., last month. 

Associated Press

Job seeker Craig Cline of Lincolnwood, Ill., right, meets with Jeremy Skeeters, left, and Lindy Hammel of Aflac Insurance Co. during a career fair in Rolling Meadows, Ill., last month. 

WASHINGTON — More Americans hunted for jobs in May, and more companies filled them — signs of confidence and resilience for the slow-healing U.S. economy.

The 175,000 jobs that employers added last month were the latest evidence that the economy could be poised for stronger growth in coming months, despite tax increases and government spending cuts.

The unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent in April, the Labor Department said Friday. But that increase was only because more people began looking for work, a healthy sign. About three-quarters of them found jobs.

Investors seemed pleased that the report hit a sweet spot: The job growth showed the U.S. economy's sturdiness. Yet the gain was modest enough that many analysts think the Federal Reserve will continue making bond purchases intended to stimulate growth for at least several more months. The purchases have eased long-term loan rates and lifted stock prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged more than 200 points.

"Job growth is still a bit weaker than desired," said Russell Price, an economist at Ameriprise Financial. But the steadiness of the job gains "is a testament to the economy's much improved underlying fundamentals."

The housing market is strengthening, auto sales are up and consumer confidence has reached a five-year peak. Stock prices are near record highs, and the budget deficit has shrunk.

U.S. employers have added an average of 155,000 jobs in the past three months. But the May gain almost exactly matched the average increase of the previous 12 months: 172,000.

Reflecting a recent trend, many of the jobs added in May were lower-paying ones, which aren't likely to fuel as much consumer spending and economic growth as higher-paying jobs that have disappeared.

Yet many Americans appear more optimistic about their job prospects: 420,000 people started looking for work in May. As a result, the percentage of Americans 16 and older either working or looking for work rose to 63.4 percent from a 34-year low of 63.3 percent in April.

This is called the labor force participation rate. Higher participation can raise the unemployment rate. That's because once people without a job start looking for one, they're counted as unemployed.

Labor force participation has been falling since peaking at 67.3 percent in 2000. That's partly the result of baby boomers' retiring and dropping out of the workforce.

Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, thinks an improving job market will lead more Americans to seek jobs. He predicts that the participation rate will level off around 63.5 percent.

The unemployment rate is derived from a survey of households, which found that more people started looking for work in May. Because some didn't find jobs right away, the number of unemployed rose 101,000 to 11.7 million.

The job gain for the month is calculated from a separate survey of employers.

Manufacturers cut 8,000 jobs. The federal government shed 14,000. Both were the third straight month of cuts for those industries. Over the past three months, the federal government has cut 45,000 jobs.

The number of temporary jobs rose by about 26,000. The economy has added temporary jobs for eight straight months, suggesting that employers are responding to more demand but aren't confident enough to hire permanent workers.

Industries that rely directly on consumer spending hired at a healthy pace — a sign of confidence that consumers will keep spending. Retailers added 28,000 jobs. Restaurants added 38,000.

Those categories include many lower-paying occupations. By contrast, the recession sharply cut jobs in higher-paying industries such as manufacturing, construction and finance, which have yet to recover.

Mark Vitner, an economist at Wells Fargo, calculated that about 60 percent of the jobs created in May were in lower-paying fields. Even in a professional field such as health care, one of the biggest job creators was home health care services, where care providers earn about $10 an hour, according to government data, he said.

"It's hard to get meaningful income growth with these types of jobs," Vitner said.

Employment gains, losses

Professional/business services: + 57,000

Leisure and hospitality: +43,000

Retail: +27,700

Temporary help services: +25,600

Health care: +10,700

Construction: +7,000

Financial services: +4,000

Transportation and warehousing: – 3,900

Manufacturing: – 8,000

Source: McClatchy Newspapers

U.S. employers add 175,000 jobs; unemployment rate up to 7.6% 06/07/13 [Last modified: Friday, June 7, 2013 10:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Toys 'R' Us files for bankruptcy but keeps stores open (w/video)

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Toys 'R' Us, the big box toy retailer struggling with $5 billion in debt and intense online competition, has filed for bankruptcy protection ahead of the key holiday shopping season — and says its stores will remain open for business as usual.

    Shoppers shop in a Toys R Us store on Black Friday in Miami in 2016. Toys R Us, the pioneering big box toy retailer, announced late Monday, Sept. 18, 2017 it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while continuing with normal business operations. [Associated Press]
  2. Trigaux: Waiting for your next pay raise? Keep dreaming, employers hint

    Working Life

    The economy's bouncing back. The stock market keeps hitting new records. And the jobless rate in Florida may soon drop below 4 percent. Surely, these are robust indicators — key signs that an annual raise is just around the corner. Right?

    Who doesn't want a pay raise? Demonstrators have rallied for years in a number of states for a $15 minimum wage. But many workers across a broad pay range are unlikely to see much if any raises this year, a new survey says. [AP Photo/Seth Wenig]
  3. Florida Guard scales down troop strength; Navy sails away from the Keys

    State Roundup

    The Florida National Guard on Monday drew down its activated statewide forces to about 1,200 on-duty troops, mostly in operations focused on relief distribution in the Florida Keys — and the last of a mini-armada of U.S. Navy ships off Key West set sail for home.

    Soldiers from the Florida National Guard's Delta Company, 1st Battallion, 124th Infantry, 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team on Sept. 14. The Federal Emergency Managment Agency has reported that 25-percent of all homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed and 65-percent sustained major damage when they took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma.  [Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images]
  4. LOCALE Market hosting St. Pete job fair for hospitality positions

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — Locale Market / FarmTable Kitchen is hosting a hospitality job fair Tuesday in St. Petersburg. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the LOCALE Market at 179 2nd Ave. North, St. Petersburg. Organizers said they hope to hire about 20 workers with a focus on displaced workers from Hurricane …

    Locale Market is hosting job fair on Tues., Feb. 19. [LARA CERRI | Times] 

  5. So far, 335,000 Irma claims totalling $1.95 billion filed in Florida

    Business

    Times Staff Writer

    As of Sunday afternoon, insurers had received a total of 335,347 claims statewide for insured damage totalling $1.95 billion caused by Hurricane Irma, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation reported Monday based on preliminary figures.

    This shows a damaged mobile home inside Clover Leaf Farms RV Park in Brooksville. So far, insurers have received a total of 335,347 claims statewide for insured damage totalling $1.95 billion caused by Hurricane Irma.
[MEGAN REEVES   |   Times]