Employment Milestone Reached, but Concerns Remain

By Toni Vranjes

June 6, 2014

The job market reached a historic milestone in May, as employment grew by 217,000. The U.S. economy has now gained back all of the jobs that were shed during the recent recession, but there are still concerns about the types of positions that are being created.

The nation’s unemployment rate remained at 6.3 percent, as 192,000 people entered the labor force, according to the latest government jobs report. The labor-force participation rate – the percentage of the population that is either employed or looking for a job – stayed at 62.8 percent.

Two areas fared especially well: professional and business services, as well as health care and social assistance. Each sector added 55,000 jobs. Meanwhile, employment in food services and drinking places rose by 32,000, and transportation and warehousing increased by 16,000.

Although the economy has added nearly 2.4 million jobs over the past year, “a major concern remains the quality of these jobs,” according to an analysis written by IHS Global Insight economist Doug Handler. Many of the positions are in low-wage sectors, he wrote. For instance, 388,000 of the jobs are in administrative and waste services, 317,000 are in retail, and 311,000 are in food and beverage establishments.

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