Where The Jobs Were In May: Who's Hiring And Who Isn't

After years of monthly payroll reports padded with excessive minimum wage waiter, bartender, educator or retail worker jobs, today's May jobs report was not only impressive in its top-line beat (which Trump strongly hinted an hour ahead of the release) and which was the record 92nd straight month of US job growth, coupled with the strong wage growth, which at 2.7% came in higher than expectations, not to mention the record surge in full-time jobs, it also showed surprising strength in most components even if some negative surprises were also present.

Of note: while last month's jobs report was truly impressive in terms of job gains by industry, with the highest paying adding the most workers, in May we saw a continuation of many of the trends observed last month:

  • Continued strength in Goods Production: Mining (+5.5K), Construction (+25K) & Manufacturing (+18K).
  • Trade & Transportation Rebounded: Wholesale (+4.2 after a big drop last month), Retail (+31.1K), and Truck Transportation (+6.6K).

Here the surprise was that just 6.6K trucking jobs were added, following complaints from the major trucking employers, all of whom have noted they can't find enough people to hire, which suggests there may be an upward revision next month.

Some other highlights:

  • Professional Services were especially strong, driven by White collar demand (Technical services +22.6K). The offset: Temp workers came in soft declining by 7.8K.
  • Manufacturing also very strong at +18K: machinery added +5.8K jobs and fabricated metal products was up +2.4K
  • Education rebounded from last month's weakness at +39K:
  • Healthcare was steady: +31.73K: Employment rose in ambulatory health care services (+17,900) and hospitals (+6,200).
  • Leisure & Hospitality another strong month: +21K
  • Mining +4K with most of the gain coming from support activities for mining (+3,100).


Looking over the past year, the following charts from Bloomberg show the industries with the highest and lowest rates of employment growth for the prior year. The latest month’s figures are highlighted.