United States: Labour market hits soft patch
June 1, 2012
In May, non-farm payrolls advanced by 69,000, which was down from the revised 77,000 increase observed in April (previously reported: 120,000 jobs). The figure was well below market expectations, which had anticipated payrolls rising by 150,000, and marked, in fact, the smallest job gain recorded in a year. The private sector continued to be entirely responsible for new hiring by adding 82,000 jobs. Education and health services as well as transportation and warehousing recorded the largest gains, while employment was down in construction. Meanwhile, the public sector maintained the negative trend seen throughout the past year, shedding 13,000 jobs. Despite the slowdown in the pace of job creation, the monthly figure marks the 20th consecutive month with gains in non-farm payrolls and the U.S. economy has now recovered 3.8 million jobs since February 2010, which marked the trough of the crisis in the labour market. That said, despite the improvement seen in the past two years, the economy still remains 5.0 million jobs below the peak reached in January 2008. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate inched up from 8.1% in April to 8.2% in May. That said, the figure mainly reflected an increase in the labour force, which gained 642,000 people over the previous month. The labour force participation rate rose from 63.6% in April to 63.8% in May.