Unemployment in the United States remained fairly stable in May,
with employers adding a better-than-predicted 175,000 jobs last
month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Despite
employment rising across a number of industries, including retail
and professionals services, the jobless rate for May now stands at
7.6 percent – up from 7.5 percent in April. The addition of jobs
surpassed analysts’ expectations by approximately 10,000. Job gains
for both March and April were revised downward by an overall total
of 12,000, with March’s increase adjusted to 142,000 from 138,000
and April’s to 149,000 from 165,000. Following a report by payroll
processor ADP that businesses were expected to add only 135,000
jobs in May, some economists had lowered their estimates prior to
the jobs report by the BLS.

The report was considered to be a good indicator for the overall
economy in light of the government sequester, as well as the new
healthcare law’s mandate for businesses kicking in and the 30-year
mortgage rate rising above 4 percent for the first time in a year
during the last week of May.

Dean Maki, chief economist at Barclays, told CNBC that May’s
jobs report does little to clarify the Fed’s next policy move even
though Chairman Ben Bernanke had said he would reduce bond
purchases in the next few months if employment levels stayed

“I think this will be seen as a report that’s not convincing
either way in terms of tapering,” said Maki. “We think not until
March of 2014. Our view is that the labor market and GDP will be
slow enough that the Fed decides it’s not worth tapering at this
point???and it’s because we do not expect the bounce back to 3
percent (GDP growth) that they are expecting.”

Across industries, professional and business services added
57,000 positions in May while many employers added temporary
workers. The leisure and hospitality sector gained 38,000 jobs last
month with employment in the food services and drinking segment
continuing to expand. The retail trade sector increased by 28,000,
which is slightly above the monthly industry average of 20,000 jobs
over the past year. Within the healthcare sector, employment also
continued to trend up to an overall 11,000 with home health
services leading the way at 7,000 positions, followed by outpatient
care at 4,000. However, the growth was offset by some losses as
hospitals cut 6,000 positions last month. Other major industries,
including wholesale trade, transportation and mining, construction
and manufacturing, all experienced little or no change. Federal
payrolls shrank by 14,000.

Workers with higher education levels also continued to fare
better than those with a high school diploma or less, with the
unemployment rate among these individuals at 6.8 percent, well
below the national average.

The number of people employed part-time, or involuntary
part-time workers, remained unchanged in May at 7.9 million, while
the number of people who were marginally attached to the workforce,
or those who had stopped looking for a job in the four weeks prior
to the report, stood at 2.2 million, down from 2.4 million in May
2012. This subgroup was not counted as unemployed. Among the
marginally attached, 780,000 were counted as discouraged workers
who suspended their job search because they believed there was no
work available for them. Hourly wages for those in private nonfarm
jobs were up 1 cent to $23.89. Wages for private sector production
and non-supervisory employees also rose a penny to $20.08.

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