Employers Add 272,000 Jobs in May

June 7, 2024 – Employment rose by 272,000 in May as the U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.0 percent, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The number of unemployed persons was 6.6 million in May. Employment continued to trend up in several industries, led by healthcare; government; leisure and hospitality; and professional, scientific, and technical services.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.8 percent), adult women (3.4 percent), teenagers (12.3 percent), Whites (3.5 percent), Blacks (6.1 percent), Asians (3.1 percent), and Hispanics (5.0 percent) showed little or no change in May. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.4 million, changed little in May. The long-term unemployed accounted for 20.7 percent of all unemployed people.

The number of people employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.4 million, changed little in May. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. In May, the number of people not in the labor force who currently want a job, at 5.7 million, was little changed. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the four weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.

Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of people marginally attached to the labor force, at 1.5 million, was little changed in May. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the four weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, edged up to 462,000 over the month.

Where Job Growth Occurred

  • Healthcare added 68,000 jobs in May, in line with the average monthly gain of 64,000 over the prior 12 months. In May, employment growth continued in ambulatory health care services (+43,000), hospitals (+15,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+11,000).

Related: Adapting to Today’s Evolving Search Market

  • Government employment continued to trend up in May (+43,000), in line with the average monthly growth over the prior 12 months (+52,000).
  • Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in May (+42,000), similar to the average monthly gain over the prior 12 months (+35,000). Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up over the month (+25,000).

Strategic Talent Acquisition Planning in 2024
In the competitive landscape of talent acquisition and executive-level hiring, having a well-curated strategic plan is crucial. With the year coming to a close, a new report from McDermott + Bull’s Jason Levi Pinegar explains that it becomes pivotal to map out an executive hiring and human capital strategy for 2024 to ensure sustained success, talent retention, and future growth. The report looks into key areas to streamline your executive recruiting and leadership strategies for the upcoming year.

“Looking back over the last several years, the talent landscape has witnessed unprecedented candidate mobility and significant recalibrations,” the McDermott + Bull report said. “As a significant number of boomers approach retirement, organizations face the challenge of replacing them. The market, increasingly filled with less experienced candidates, will make recruitment progressively more demanding.”

  • Professional, scientific, and technical services added 32,000 jobs in May, higher than the average monthly gain of 19,000 over the prior 12 months. Over the month, employment increased in management, scientific, and technical consulting services (+14,000) and in architectural, engineering, and related services (+10,000). Specialized design services lost 3,000 jobs.
  • Social assistance employment continued to trend up in May (+15,000), primarily in individual and family services (+11,000). Over the prior 12 months, social assistance had added an average of 22,000 jobs per month.
  • In May, employment in retail trade continued to trend up (+13,000), about in line with the average monthly gain over the prior 12 months (+8,000). Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers added 12,000 jobs in May, while job losses occurred in department stores (-5,000) and furniture and home furnishings retailers (-4,000).
  • Employment showed little or no change over the month in other major industries, including mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; construction; manufacturing; wholesale trade; transportation and warehousing; information; financial activities; and other services.

Related: 5 Recruitment Trends to Look Out For

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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