Payrolls Huge Miss: Only 38,000 Jobs Added In May; Worst Since September 2010

If anyone was "worried" about the Verizon strike taking away 35,000 jobs from the pro forma whisper number of 200,000 with consensus expecting 160,000 jobs, or worried about a rate hike by the Fed any time soon, you can sweep all worries away: moments ago the BLS reported that in May a paltry 38,000 jobs were added, a plunge from last month's downward revised 123K (was 160K). The number was the lowest since September 2010!

The household survey was just as bad, with only 26,000 jobs added in May, bringing the total to 151,030K. This happened as the number of unemployed tumbled from 7,920K to 7,436K driven by a massive surge in people not in the labor force which soared to a record 94,7 million, a monthly increase of over 600,000 workers.     

As expected Verizon subtracted 35,000 workers however this was more than offset by a 36,000 drop in goods producing workers. Worse, there was no offsetting increase in temp workers (something we caution recently), and no growth in trade and transportation services.

What is striking is that while the deteriorationg in mining employment continued (-10,000), and since reaching a peak in September 2014, mining has lost 207,000 jobs, for the first time the BLS acknowledged that the tech bubble has also burst, reporting that employment in information declined by 34,000 in May.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for March was revised from +208,000  to +186,000, and the change for April was revised from +160,000 to +123,000. With these revisions, employment gains in March and April combined were 59,000 less  than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 116,000  per month.

There is no way to spin this number as anything but atrocious.

 

The improvement in the household survey ended, with jobs rising just 1.5% Y/Y to 151,030, the lowest annual increase since last November.

The unemployment rate tumbled to 4.7%, the lowest since August 2007, driven entirely by a massive exodus of people from the labor force: 664,000 potential workers exited the labor force pushign the number ouf of the workforce to a record high 94.7 million.

A partial silver lining was in the wage section, which saw average hourly earnings rise by 0.2%, to $25.59, while average weekly earnings posted a modest 2.3% increase.

More details from the report:

Total nonfarm payroll employment changed little in May (+38,000). Job growth occurred in health care. Mining continued to lose jobs, and a strike resulted in job losses in information. (See table B-1.)

Health care added 46,000 jobs in May, with increases occurring in ambulatory health care services (+24,000), hospitals (+17,000), and nursing care facilities (+5,000). Over the year, health care employment has increased by 487,000.

In May, mining employment continued to decline (-10,000). Since reaching a peak in September 2014, mining has lost 207,000 jobs. Support activities for  mining accounted for three-fourths of the jobs lost during this period, including  6,000 in May.

Employment in information declined by 34,000 in May. About 35,000 workers in the  telecommunications industry were on strike and not on company payrolls during  the survey reference period.

Within manufacturing, employment in durable goods declined by 18,000 in May, with job losses of 7,000 in machinery and 3,000 in furniture and related products.

Employment in professional and business services changed little in May (+10,000), after increasing by 55,000 in April. Within the industry, professional and technical services added 26,000 jobs in May, in line with average monthly gains over the prior 12 months. Employment in temporary help services was little changed over the month (-21,000) but is down by 64,000 thus far this year.

Employment in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade,  retail trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, changed little over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in May. The manufacturing workweek increased by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours, and manufacturing overtime was unchanged at 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.6 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In May, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 5 cents to $25.59, following an increase of 9 cents in April. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by  3 cents to $21.49 in May. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for March was revised from +208,000  to +186,000, and the change for April was revised from +160,000 to +123,000. With these revisions, employment gains in March and April combined were 59,000 less  than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 116,000  per month.