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May 2023 BGSF Jobs Report: Strong Job Growth Continues, Unemployment Rate Rises

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

The latest monthly employment report for May 2023 provided encouraging news for the US economy, as job growth exceeded expectations. The report, released today, revealed that the country added  339,000 jobs in May, marking the 14th consecutive month of job creation surpassing Wall Street economists’ forecasts. However, alongside the positive figures, the report also showed a slight increase in the unemployment rate, reflecting some underlying challenges.

According to the report, nonfarm payrolls increased by a robust 339,000 jobs, surpassing the projected 195,000 jobs. This significant job gain, the largest monthly increase since January, demonstrates the continued strength of the US labor market. The solid growth was evident across various industries, suggesting a broad-based recovery.

Several sectors played a crucial role in driving job creation in May. Professional and business services led the way with an impressive addition of 64,000 jobs, demonstrating the sector's resilience and adaptability. Government employment contributed 56,000 jobs. “The U.S. labor market continues to defy historical definitions, showcasing remarkable resilience amid the chaos of inflation and high-profile layoffs.” Said Eric Peters, Present of BGSF’s Professional division. “With an impressive 339,000 job openings in May, we are witnessing the labor market rewriting the rule book, demonstrating strength and determination."

Other notable sectors that experienced noteworthy gains in May included construction, with 25,000 new jobs, and transportation and warehousing, which added 24,000 positions. These figures highlight the positive momentum across industries that support economic growth and infrastructure development.

"While the real estate and rental industries showed slight growth, the rise in construction job gains of 25,000 jobs in May is a positive indicator for the property management industry. Construction employment serves as a key driver for the real estate sector, and these job gains lay the foundation for future growth and opportunities. “ Commented Kelly Brown, President of BGSF’s Property Management division, “We anticipate that the increase in construction jobs will lead to a surge in demand for property management services later in the year."

However, despite the robust job growth, the unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.7% from the previous month's 3.5%. This increase suggests that more individuals entered or re-entered the labor force in search of employment opportunities. An uptick in the unemployment rate may initially raise concerns, it can also be interpreted as a positive sign of increased labor force participation.

The May jobs report reflected the 29th consecutive month of strong job growth, which has become a defining characteristic of the post-pandemic recovery economy. Economists had predicted a more modest increase in jobs, around 180,000, making the actual figures a pleasant surprise.

Further analysis of the report revealed that average hourly earnings for workers increased by 0.3% compared to the previous month, while the year-on-year growth stood at 4.3%. These figures indicate a steady upward trend in wages, which is good news for workers and may contribute to sustained consumer spending.

It is important to note that the May jobs report showcased encouraging numbers, but there were indications of a potential moderation in job openings and hiring intentions. Research director, Nick Bunker, from Indeed Hiring Lab highlighted this trend, citing various measures, including the Indeed Job Postings Index. That suggests the labor market may be approaching a more stable and balanced phase, following the rapid recovery seen in previous months.

Overall, the May jobs report provided a reason for optimism, as it underscored the resilience and strength of the US labor market. The substantial job gains across multiple sectors demonstrate the economy's ability to rebound from the pandemic's impact. Although the unemployment rate experienced a slight increase, it was accompanied by increased labor force participation, which can be viewed as a positive sign. As the recovery continues, it will be crucial to monitor economic indicators closely to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth for all.

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