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BY THE NUMBERS: The May BLS Jobs Report

June 5, 2015
After some exciting statistics last month, including the lowest unemployment rate in almost seven years, the new jobs report gives more reason for excitement.

Another month, another couple hundred new jobs in the U.S. economy, according to the new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 280,000 new jobs were added during May, including 7,000 in manufacturing, about 25% more than the 223,000 added in April. TD Bank Group senior economist James Marple described the report as “picture perfect.”

“The resilience of the labor market shown in this report overrides a lot of other weaker economic data,” Marple said. “While it’s probably not enough to convince the Fed to step off the sidelines at their next meeting in June, September is still on the table.”

Health care, retail sales and tourism hired new workers during the month, and significant gains also came in construction and government. Wages also rose a solid 2.3% from a year ago. A look at some of the other important and interesting numbers from the report:

2.5: Percentage of all new jobs in the economy contributed by the manufacturing sector. This number was just 0.4% last month (1,000 manufacturing jobs added among 223,000 total), but the increase still received some disappointment. “I’m glad the number is positive, but it’s clear the strong dollar and a surge in manufacturing imports over the last few months are dampening manufacturing job growth,” Alliance for American Manufacturing president Scott Paul said. “That makes combating unfair trade practices and currency manipulation even more important. Without robust manufacturing job growth, it will be extremely difficult to rebuild the middle class.”

5: Number of months during the last two years during which more than the 280,000 new jobs reported in May were added to the economy. More than 400,000 new jobs were added in November 2014, more than 300,000 were added in November 2013, June 2014 and December 2014, and a little more than the 280,000 added last month were added back in April 2014. The average monthly new jobs gain during the last 12 months had been 251,000.

5.5: The overall unemployment rate, up slightly from 5.4% last month, which was its lowest point since May 2008. Marple credits the increase “not to weak job growth, but to a move of people into the labor market," those returning to the workforce but not finding jobs just yet, "reflected in a rising employment-to-population ratio.”

6,000: Total number of jobs added in the goods-producing sector, including those 7,000 added in manufacturing, down from the 31,000 added last month. Construction gained 17,000 new jobs (down from 45,000 gained last month) and mining and logging lost 18,000 (15,000 were lost last month). Much like April, the construction bump and the mining and logging drop are tied, respectively, to the seasonal cycle and the difficult situation for oil producers.

389,000: Number of manufacturing jobs added during Barack Obama’s second presidential term. The AAM has tracked the number since Obama pledged during his re-election campaign to add 1 million manufacturing jobs during his second term. After the release of these latest numbers, the industry is on pace to add a little more than 640,000 new jobs between January 2013 and January 2017.

About the Author

Matt LaWell | Staff Writer

Staff writer Matt LaWell explores news in manufacturing technology, covering the trends and developments in automation, robotics, digital tools and emerging technologies. He also reports on the best practices of the most successful high tech companies, including computer, electronics, and industrial machinery and equipment manufacturers.

Matt joined IndustryWeek in 2015 after six years at newspapers and magazines in West Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio, a season on the road with his wife writing about America and minor league baseball, and three years running a small business. He received his bachelor's degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University.

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