May Employment Report Is In — Economy adds 175K jobs

To all eQuest subscribers.

The following is a distillation of this morning’s Associated Press article on the Labor Department’s job report for May, 2013. We have provided links to that article and the official report.

The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in May, a gain that shows employers are hiring at a still-modest but steady pace.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate rose slightly to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent in April, essentially unchanged. Employment rose in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, and retail trade.

The government revised the job figures for the previous two months. April’s gains were lowered to 149,000 from 165,000. March’s figure was increased slightly to 142,000 from 138,000. The net loss was 12,000 jobs.

Investors reacted positively in the first minutes after the report was released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time. Stock index futures rose.

Employers have added an average of 155,000 jobs in past three months, below the average of 237,000 created from November through February.

Job growth has been steady this year, despite higher taxes and federal spending cuts. Still, some signs in the report suggested that the spending cuts and

weaker global growth are weighing on the job market.

Manufacturers cut 8,000 jobs, and the federal government shed 14,000. Both were the third straight month of cuts for those industries.

Average hourly wages ticked up just a penny in May, to $23.89. That was because much of the job growth was in lower-paying industries.

The economy grew at a solid annual rate of 2.4 percent in the first three months of the year. Consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in more than two years. But economists worry that the steep government spending cuts and higher Social Security taxes might be slowing growth in the April-June quarter to an annual rate of 2 percent or less.

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