The Employment Situation for May 2022
Published On: May 9, 2022
Editor's Note: This report is based on survey data from April 2022 that was published in May 2022. This is the most recent data available. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Once again, the U.S. job market exceeded consensus expectations last month, adding nearly 430,000 new jobs despite rising inflation and continuing supply chain issues. This is the 12th straight month where more than 400,000 jobs were added and the first time such a feat has been achieved since before World War II.
What’s more, it is also worth noting that these jobs were well-distributed among the various industries, with no industries reporting job losses and only a handful of industries remaining stable (specifically construction, information, government, and other services).
The leisure and hospitality industries topped the growth list with almost 80,000 new jobs. More than half of new jobs went to eating and drinking establishments as these industries continue to rebound and navigate ever-evolving consumer behavior and public health expectations.
The manufacturing industry and the transportation and warehousing industry both added more than 50,000 jobs each–a positive signal that should alleviate some supply chain pressure across the country. The business services, finance, and healthcare industries each added between 30,000 to 40,000 jobs, while the retail and wholesale industries both added between 20,000 and 30,0000 thousand as well.
Beyond the month’s newly added jobs and the historic unemployment rate and year-long streak named above, there is little change to report this month.
Employment rates among the various worker groups and demographics showed little change. Similarly, minor change was registered among the various subdivisions of the partially employed and non-employed, except for an increase in the number of people considered marginally attached to the labor force who looked for a job in the previous year but not in the most recent month.
In fact, beyond the jobs numbers themselves, the only other noteworthy month-to-month change is the apparent diminishing impact that the pandemic is having on the workplace. For example, only about 25% of employees reported working remotely at some point over the past month as a result of the pandemic (down from 10% to 7.7%); however, the ambiguity of whether the pandemic is “causing” remote work may be somewhat responsible for the reduction.
Also, the number of job seekers who claimed the pandemic prevented them from looking for work last month fell by almost a third–from 874,000 to 578,000–despite new COVID-19 case numbers doubling on average over the last month.
Mployer Advisor’s Take:
Although it is important to note the remarkable achievements of the past year, including record job growth and a near historic unemployment rate, overall the latest economic report is not meaningfully different from last month.
The operative question then becomes, “Does this stasis represent stability or stagnation?”
For years now, we have been living with the constant threat of an escalating pandemic and the looming shadow it could cast over our lives, our health, and the economy. Supply chain issues continue and have worsened with the outbreak of war in Europe, while inflation remains a growing problem too.
With all these economically suppressing factors in the mix, economists must consider the possibility of a recession in the near future. That said, making accurate predictions about the economy can be especially difficult in an era with regular disruptions to the data collection process. As always, only time will tell. But, for the past year at least, those betting on the economy to exceed expectations have consistently been proven right.