June 05, 2023

May jobs report ‘difficult to parse’


New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed 339,000 jobs were added in May, with a slight increase in the unemployment rate from 3.4 percent to 3.7 percent.

“The May jobs report was a difficult one to parse, with a wide disparity in the two source surveys. The household survey was weak, showing increased unemployment, but the establishment survey beat expectations with 339,000 new jobs,” said NAFCU Vice President of Research and Chief Economist Curt Long. “The Fed had a high bar for a June hike and will likely not raise rates, but it’s difficult to rule out a July hike if forthcoming inflation data is strong.”

Results among private sector industries were mostly positive. Education and health saw the largest gains (+97,000), followed by professional and business services (+64,000). However, the manufacturing sector shed 2,000 jobs.

Average hourly earnings grew 0.3 percent in May and year-over-year wage growth decelerated slightly to 4.3 percent. In the Macro Data Flash report, Long noted, “despite the relative strength of the establishment survey, average wages and hours worked both fell.”

Access more of NAFCU’s economic analyses online