U.S. companies added a modest 559,000 occupations in May, an improvement from April’s sluggish gain but nevertheless signs that lots of companies are trying to find enough employees as the market rapidly recovers against the pandemic downturn.
The unemployment rate dropped to 5.8percent from 6.1 percent.
The rate of the rebound in the recession has captured companies off guard and touched off a scramble to hire..
The end result has been a disconnect between companies and the unemployed: While companies are rushing to add employees immediately, lots of the unemployed are either seeking better jobs than they had before the pandemic, nevertheless lack affordable child care, fear about contracting COVID-19 or have opted to retire early.
This mismatch resulted in the sharp slowdown in hiring in April, when employers added much fewer jobs than economists had forecast and many fewer than was hired in March. The mismatch appears to be easing just reasonably for today.
“There’s a difference between the market and labor market,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist at the payroll processing firm ADP.
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May’s job gains, she explained, are”more lackluster than you would anticipate given the powerful state of economic growth.”
The bulk of last month’s job growth was at hotels, restaurant and bars, which gained 220,000 positions. Retailers lost jobs for a second straight month. And despite a hot housing market, the construction industry shed 20,000 jobs, its second straight month of cuts, likely reflecting supply shortages and soaring costs for building materials.
The economy expanded last quarter at a robust 6.4% annual rate, and economists envision growth in the current quarter reaching a sizzling pace of 9% or more. All that growth, driven by higher spending, has raised inflation fears. But for now, it has mainly propelled demand for labor.
Job postings in late May were nearly 26% above pre-pandemic levels, according to the employment website Indeed. Government data shows that posted jobs are at the highest level on records dating back to 2000.
And consumers are opening their wallets. In April, they increased their spending after a huge gain in March that was fueled by the distribution of $1,400 stimulus checks. With more Americans feeling comfortable about staying in hotels and visiting entertainment venues, spending on services jumped.