US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The overall unemployment rate fell by one tenth of a percent in May, to 3.3 percent, as reported by the US Department of Labor. This matches the lowest rate reported since April 2000. The last time the unemployment rate was lower than 3.8 percent was December 1969. It was 4.3 percent a year ago in May 2017.

In May, the civilian labor force participation rate fell by one tenth of a percent for the third consecutive month, to 62.7 percent. The participation rate has remained fairly steady since October of 2013.

The employment-population ratio rose by one tenth of a percent in May, to 60.4 percent.

The unemployment rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree again fell by one tenth of a percent to 2.0 percent in May. It was 2.5 percent in May 2017.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 223,000 in May. The payroll employment numbers for both March and April 2018 were adjusted. Total employment gains for those months are now 15,000 more than previously reported. Considering these revisions, payroll employment gains have averaged 179,000 over the last three months.

Some details directly from the BLS report:


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in May, compared with an average monthly gain of 191,000 over the prior 12 months. Over the month, employment continued to trend up in several industries, including retail trade, health care, and construction.

In May, retail trade added 31,000 jobs, with gains occurring in general merchandise stores (+13,000) and in building material and garden supply stores (+6,000). Over the year, retail trade has added 125,000 jobs.

Employment in health care rose by 29,000 in May, about in line with the average monthly gain over the prior 12 months. Ambulatory health care services added 18,000 jobs over the month, and employment in hospitals continued to trend up (+6,000).

Employment in construction continued on an upward trend in May (+25,000) and has risen by 286,000 over the past 12 months. Within the industry, nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 15,000 jobs over the month.

Employment in professional and technical services continued to trend up in May (+23,000) and has risen by 206,000 over the year.

Transportation and warehousing added 19,000 jobs over the month and 156,000 over the year. In May, job gains occurred in warehousing and storage (+7,000) and in couriers and messengers (+5,000).

Manufacturing employment continued to expand over the month (+18,000). Durable goods accounted for most of the change, including an increase of 6,000 jobs in machinery. Manufacturing employment has risen by 259,000 over the year, with about three-fourths of the growth in durable goods industries.

Mining added 6,000 jobs in May. Since a recent low point in October 2016, employment in mining has grown by 91,000, with support activities for mining accounting for nearly all of the increase.

In May, employment changed little in other major industries, including wholesale trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in May. In manufacturing, the workweek decreased by 0.2 hour to 40.8 hours, and overtime edged down by 0.2 hour to 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained at 33.8 hours.

In May, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents to $26.92. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or 2.7 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $22.59 in May.