A Stellar Jobs Report, Almost

The May employment report is very very good. In fact, it’s nearly perfect.

According to the report, the economy added 223,000 jobs in May. This was more than the 190,000 that economists and Wall Street analysts had been expecting. May marked the 92nd consecutive month of job growth in the economy. That sets a record.

Unemployment rate drops to 3.8% — an 18-year low

The number of unemployed persons declined to 6.1 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate was down by 0.5 percentage point, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 772,000.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5 percent), Blacks (5.9 percent), and Asians (2.1 percent) decreased in May. The jobless rates for adult women (3.3 percent), teenagers (12.8 percent), Whites (3.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.9 percent) changed little over the month.

Wage gains also beat expectations:

In May, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents to $26.92. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or 2.7 percent.

Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $22.59 in May.

But there’s a “But”:

The one downbeat aspect of the report concerns the labor participation rate, which actually inched down in May. This is a measure of how many people are working versus how many working age people could be working.

However, with job openings at a 20-year high, there’s hope that the participation rate may finally get back to pre-recession levels.

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