Labor Participation Rate Ticked Up in May, But Retailers Shed Jobs

Grocery stores gave up 8,300 jobs in the month; superstores/warehouse clubs lost nearly 28,000 jobs
Costco worker
Photograph: Shutterstock

U.S. employers added a better-than-expected 390,000 jobs in May while the unemployment rate remained flat at 3.6%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported June 3. The labor-force participation rate, after inching down in April to 62.2%, ticked back up to 62.3%.

In a rough month for retail, food and beverage stores gave up 8,300 jobs in May, while supercenters and warehouse clubs lost 27,800 jobs. That followed significant job gains for both grocery retail sectors in March and April. Overall, U.S. retailers lost nearly 61,000 jobs last month. 

There was better news on the supply-chain and logistics front, as transportation and warehousing added 47,000 jobs in May, including more than 13,000 jobs in truck transportation and nearly 18,000 warehouse jobs. Restaurants and bars added a seasonally adjusted 46,100 jobs during the month. 

The BLS revised down its employment figures for March, saying that U.S. employers added 30,000 fewer jobs than the 428,000 originally reported, and revised its April tally upward by 8,000 jobs.

Average hourly earnings for workers on private nonfarm payrolls rose 10 cents from April to $31.95 in May. For production and nonsupervisory workers, hourly earnings rose 15 cents to $27.33. 

Year over year, average hourly earnings for all private nonfarm employees are up 5.2%. Inflation on consumer goods stood at 8.3% in April; May CPI figures are set to be released June 10.




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