US Adds 217,000 Jobs in May

WASHINGTON (MNI) -- The U.S. May employment report was about as vanilla as it could be, suggesting continued decent economic growth.

May payrolls were up 217,000, about as expected, and the April-March revisions totaled -6,000.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.3%, with the labor force participation rate unchanged at 62.8% in what the Bureau of Labor Statistics called 'no real trend.' Over-the-year unemployment is 1.2 points lower, with an unusually large 1/3 of that drop attributed to April's decline.

Average Hourly Earnings rebounded and hours gained, suggesting higher incomes and production in upcoming reports.

Payrolls are up 8.8 million since February 2010, and this gain means total payrolls now exceed the pre-recession level. The 4+ year path is about twice the normal duration of recovery.

Payroll composition this month includes: manufacturing +10,000, construction +6,000, retail +12,500, temporary jobs +14,300, health +54,900, restaurants +31,700, finance +3,000, and government +1,000 (local ex-education +18,000, offset by Federal-state job drops). The 1-month diffusion index was 62.7%, showing a decent breadth.

Overall, the report was about as expected and shows a growing economy after the winter stall. The April-May jobs average is +250,000, up from +190,000 in Q1.

--Email: jplocek@mni-news.com