While the unemployment rate crept up slightly in May, moving from 5.4% to 5.5%, there were 280,000 jobs added last month by employers—well above the average monthly totals logged over the last year and the strongest number we’ve seen since December.
Thus far, America has added over a million new jobs in 2015, employing close to an additional 400,000 individuals.
A good portion of last month’s job growth occurred in the professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and health care. Construction also had a good month and manufacturing growth accelerated in May for the first time in six months.
Not only did job growth improve significantly in May, but wages also picked up—both signs of movement toward a healing economy. Average hourly earnings for all non-farm employees rose by 8 cents, the largest increase in earnings since August 2013.
The number of people applying for unemployment insurance also dropped, marking the 13th week in a row where new claims stayed under 300,000. This ongoing pattern of fewer claims indicates a growing sense of job security across the nation.
The job market made strong gains in May and affirms that the spring lull in job growth may have been just a temporary pause in job progression. If the past 5 months’ average job growth holds up for the remainder of the year, it would amount to a 1.9% growth in jobs in the United States in 2015.