Payrolls grew the most in leisure and hospitality in May, reflecting a shift in consumer demand from goods to services as the world continues reopening post-pandemic.
Additional job gains were also posted in the professional and business services sectors, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Overall, the U.S. economy added 390,000 jobs at a solid pace last month, adding to the labor market’s long stretch of gains in recent months. The unemployment rate held at 3.6%, a bit above February 2020 before the pandemic took hold.
Read more: Retail, Hospitality Hiring Drive US Job Growth
Last month’s job gains were at the slowest pace since April of 2021. Employers added an estimated more than 500,000 jobs a month during that time period. Wages grew 5.2% in May, down from 5.5% in April, per media reports. Inflation has accelerated to the point of a four-decade high in recent months.
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April’s job gains were revised up to 436,000 from 428,000, while the gains in March were revised down to 398,000 from 428,000, the BLS reported.
“We’re still seeing improvements in the labor market. We’re still putting people who were unemployed over the pandemic back to work. But it’s more sustainable over the long run,” Augustine Faucher, chief economist at the PNC Financial Services Group, told The Wall Street Journal.
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Matthew Johnson, founder and chief executive of Midwestern Interactive, a tech company in Joplin, Mo., told WSJ he had boosted pay packages by 30% to 40% over the past two years to recruit talent.
Now, though, the industry has hit a slowdown, and Johnson expects that should help moderate wage growth.
“I do believe we’re going to see things start to plateau within the next 12 to 18 months,” he said.