The official jobs report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released today reports “Nonfarm payroll employment changed little in May (+69,000), and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.2 percent. All expectations were that 158,000 jobs would be added to the economy in May. ADP reported just yesterday that 133,000 private sector jobs were created.
Republicans are celebrating but this is a drop Congress could have prevented had it passed any jobs or infrastructure bills.
According to the BLS, employment increased in health care, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade but declined in construction. Health care has added 340,000 jobs over the last year. Wholesale trades added 16,000 jobs in May and 184,000 over the year. Employment was little changed in most other major industries.
Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in May adding 12,000 jobs following a similar change in April where 9,000 were added. Job gains in manufacturing averaged 41,000 per month in the first quarter of this year. In May, employment rose in fabricated metal products (+6,000) and in primary metals (+4,000). Since its most recent low in January 2010, manufacturing employment has increased by 495,000.
That was the good news. The bad news is that construction employment declined by 28,000 in May, with job losses occurring in specialty trade contractors (-18,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (-11,000). Since reaching a low in January 2011, employment in construction has shown little change on net according to the BLS.
Employment in professional and business services was essentially unchanged in May. Since the most recent low point in September 2009, employment in this industry has grown by 1.4 million. In May, job losses in accounting and bookkeeping services (-14,000) and in services to buildings and dwellings (-14,000) were offset by small gains elsewhere in the industry.
Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, retail trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, changed little in May.
The BLS also revised their March and April projections downward.
The most striking news in this report is the fall in construction. This is the peak building season. The sad part is this is one thing Congress could do something about. Had Congress passed any of the infrastructure bills put forth by President Obama, or a long term highway bill, this industry would have added jobs not lost jobs.
Republicans and Mitt Romney have already unleashed their attacks fueled by the jobs report. Truth is, Republicans have blood on their hands by blocking all the jobs bill Obama has sent to Congress especially construction bills supported by both business and labor.
None of that matters to the unemployed. They want a job and they deserve a job. What politicians need to do now is stop celebrating and get to work now, not after the election, to put people back to work.
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