May Job Creation Tops Expectations

By Toni Vranjes

June 5, 2015

The government has released the initial tally of jobs for May, and it’s higher than economists had predicted.

Last month, the economy added 280,000 jobs, the U.S. Labor Department reported today. The consensus forecast for May was 224,000, according to IHS Global Insight.

up_arrow_5_pt_5Unemployment rose slightly from 5.4 percent to 5.5 percent, as the labor force grew by 397,000.

The data show that “workers are likely becoming more confident of finding jobs and (re)entering the labor force, after a hiatus,” wrote IHS Chief Economist Nariman Behravesh in an analysis.

Impressive growth occurred in professional and business services, which added 63,000 new jobs. Other areas of growth included leisure and hospitality, health care, and retail trade.

Workers’ paychecks also received a boost. Average hourly earnings increased 0.3 percent in May, and 2.3 percent over the year,¬†Behravesh noted. “This was the strongest gain in nearly two years,” he wrote.

Another bright spot in the report: the economy gained 32,000 more jobs in March and April combined than earlier reported.

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