U.S. unemployment unchanged at 3.6 pct in May amid tight labor market
U.S. employers added 390,000 jobs in May amid continued labor market tightness, with the unemployment rate unchanged at 3.6 percent, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Friday.
Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, and in transportation and warehousing, while employment in retail trade declined, according to the report released by the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The April employment report showed that the labor force participation rate ticked up to 62.3 percent, still about one percentage point below the pre-pandemic level of 63.4 percent.
The report also showed that the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent in May for the third month in a row, which was slightly above the pre-pandemic level of 3.5 percent.
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents, or 0.3 percent, to 31.95 U.S. dollars in April, the BLS report showed. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 5.2 percent.
Private companies in the United States added 128,000 jobs in May, with small companies cutting 91,000 employees, indicating difficulty in hiring amid a tight labor market, payroll data company Automatic Data Processing (ADP) reported Thursday.
The number of job openings decreased by 455,000 to 11.4 million by the end of April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. The May monthly employment report, however, showed that the number of unemployed was essentially unchanged at 6.0 million, indicating there were approximately 1.9 job positions for every unemployed.
In its latest Beige Book released Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve also noted that business contacts tended to cite labor market difficulties as their "greatest challenge," followed by supply chain disruptions.
"Worker shortages continued to force many firms to operate below capacity," the Beige Book said. "In response, firms continued to deploy automation, offer greater job flexibility, and raise wages."