Dismal jobs report suggests recovery has slowed

U.S. jobs growth slowed markedly in May—indicating that the pace of economic recovery has decelerated. According to the Dept. of Labor’s Employment Situation Summary, only 69,000 nonfarm jobs, including 7,000 in truck transportation, were added last month and the unemployment rate—now at 8.2%-- “was essentially unchanged.”

“Transportation and warehousing added 36,000 jobs over the month. Employment gains in transit and ground passenger transportation (+20,000) and in couriers and messengers(+5,000) followed job losses in those industries in April. Employment in both industries has shown little net change over the year. In May, truck transportation added 7,000 jobs.”

According a news story posted by The Wall Street Journal, economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires were looking for a gain of 155,000 jobs and for the jobless rate to remain at 8.1% in May.

“Compounding an already weak report, March and April payroll gains were revised down,” noted The Journal story. “Nonfarm payrolls increased by 77,000 in April, compared with the previously reported 115,000, and March payrolls grew by 143,000 versus a previously reported 154,000. The unemployment rate has fallen sharply since August, when it was 9.1%. But even though companies are hiring, the pace of job creation remains well below figures at the start of the year—the economy added an average of 226,000 jobs a month in the first quarter.”

Pouring on more sobering news, a news story posted by The Washington Post pointed out that Dept. of Commerce figures show that economic growth was slower than initially estimated as the agency revised first-quarter GDP growth down to a 1.9% annual rate, compared with the previously announced 2.2% rate.

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