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Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 390,000 jobs in May, following the addition of 436,000 jobs in April (revised), according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This brings total nonfarm employment just 822,000 jobs, or 0.5%, behind its pre-pandemic status (February 2020).

Unemployment rates hold steady

The unemployment rate for the month, at 3.6%, was unchanged and accounted for 6.0 million unemployed people. 

Unemployment rates among major worker groups were: 

  • Adult men: 3.4% (3.5% in April)
  • Adult women: 3.4% (3.2% in April)
  • Teenagers: 10.4% (10.2% in April)
  • Black: 6.2% (5.9% in April)
  • Hispanic: 4.3% (4.1% in April)
  • Asian: 2.4% (3.1% in April)
  • White: 3.2% (3.2% in April)

2022 State of Staffing

Little change in unemployment numbers

The number of people on temporary layoffs came in at 810,000 in May, while those experiencing permanent job loss totaled 1.4 million. These numbers changed little from April and are close to their pre-pandemic levels.

Long-term unemployment (jobless for 27 weeks or more) inched down to 1.4 million (23.2% of total unemployed), just 235,000 above its pre-pandemic level. At 62.3%, the labor force participation rate remained about the same for the month.

Pandemic-related teleworking continued to drop in May, falling from 7.7% to 7.4%. A total of 1.8 million people were unable to work because of pandemic-related business closures, while 455,000 people couldn’t look for work during the month due to the pandemic.

Job growth across major industries

Leisure and hospitality added 84,000 jobs in May, still 1.3 million, or 7.9%, behind its pre-pandemic level. 

Other notable job gains included:

  • Professional and business services (+75,000)
  • Transportation and warehousing (+47,000)
  • Construction (+36,000)
  • State government education (+36,000) and private education (+33,000)
  • Health care (+28,000)

Retail trade employment lost 61,000 jobs in May, but the industry is 159,000 jobs above its pre-pandemic status.

Private nonfarm employees earned an average of $31.95 (a $0.10 increase) per hour in May. Average hourly earnings and have gone up 5.2% over the past year.