PhotoOn the surface, the report looks good when you consider that the unemployment rate dropped 0.3% last month to 4.7%.

However, the economy created just 38,000 jobs in May, and the Department of Labor (DOL) revised the April and March job creation level down by a combined 56,000 positions.

In addition, the civilian labor force participation rate fell by 0.2% in May and has declined by 0.4% over the past 2 months, offsetting gains in the first quarter. The employment-population ratio remained at 59.7%.

Employment gains and losses

What few new jobs that were created came in health care (+46,000) and technical services (+26,000). Losses were found in mining (-10,000), information (-34,000), and manufacturing (-18,000).

Another factor in the suppressed job creation total was the month-long strike by 34,000 Verizon workers.

Employment in construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government was little-changed.

Who’s working and who’s not

The unemployment rates for adult men (4.3%), adult women (4.2%), Whites (4.1%), and Hispanics (5.6%) declined in May. The rates for teenagers (16.0%), Blacks (8.2%), and Asians (4.1%) showed little or no change.

The number of people employed part time for economic reasons (also referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by 468,000 -- to 6.4 million after showing little movement since November. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by five cents to $25.59, following an increase of nine cents in April. Over the year, average hourly earnings are up 2.5%.

Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose three cents to $21.49.

The complete report is available on the DOL website.

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