Markets

US employers add modest 138K jobs; rate dips to 4.3 percent

US employers add modest 138K jobs; rate dips to 4.3 percent

Yet economists said the drop was due in part to a contraction in the labor force, since the unemployment rate measures only those who are actively looking for work but can't find it.

"After all you can't hire new workers if there are no new workers to be had", quipped Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West.

The employment report came a day after Trump announced he was withdrawing the United States from the 2015 Paris climate agreement in a bid to preserve USA jobs.

The Department of Labor announced yesterday that the economy added 138,000 jobs last month, while April and March job numbers were revised down by a combined 66,000 jobs. But the 138,000 jobs added in May marked a sharp deceleration from the average monthly gain of 181,000 over the previous 12 months.

Annual growth in average hourly earnings has been so-so in recent months.

A broad measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 8.4 percent, the lowest since November 2007.

Last month's job gains could still be sufficient for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at its June 13-14 policy meeting. The falling U-6 points to a relatively healthy job market.

The large and aging baby boom generation has hit retirement age, and the Trump White House has tightened immigration rules, among other things. In addition, companies are increasingly seeking workers with college degrees or specialized know-how - construction experience, for example, or a background in machine automation.

There is growing anecdotal evidence of companies struggling to find qualified workers. So far, that hasn't happened broadly across the economy.

The percentage of working-age Americans in the labor force declined last month to 62.7 percent, the third-straight monthly decline and near a four-decade low.

Trump asked top intel officials to DENY Russian collusion
The Justice Department last week named former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russia's involvement in the US election.


The latest jobs report from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics are out and experts are split on what it means. Health care and social assistance added almost 37,000 jobs and professional services 39,000.

But governments shed 9,000 workers, with the losses concentrated at the state and local level. Manufacturers let go of 1,000. Payroll processor ADP reported that in a private survey of companies, it found that a hefty 253,000 jobs were added in May, mostly among companies with fewer than 500 workers.

Trump has yet to sign into law any policies that would change the trajectory of the job market or the economy from President Barack Obama's tenure. Meanwhile, better-paying work in fields from construction to health care continues to expand, which could support firmer wage growth this year. And its proposed tax cuts have come only in a one-page outline, without the details that would need to be vetted by Congress.

The national unemployment rate nudged lower, to 4.3 percent from 4.4 percent - a 16-year low. At some point, pay should start to rise more sharply, especially in industries with hard-to-find skilled or educated workers.

For now, some companies that are hiring have no plans to raise pay much. One is Atlanta-based Workout Anytime Companies, which runs 24-hour-a-day gyms.

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction added 7,000 jobs in May, bringing a total of 47,000 jobs since the October 2016 low.

Cohn said Friday on Bloomberg Television that "we still think there's an very bad lot that we in the administration can do" on taxes, regulation and infrastructure to bring people back to the workforce and boost wages.

Fed officials are putting more emphasis for now on sturdy hiring, which they believe should eventually push inflation higher.

Job creation kept pace with population growth in May, but it was not what financial markets were expecting, said Paul Diggle, senior economist at Aberdeen Asset Management.


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