Job Market Update: May 2016 

The Job Market Today Download Our PDF Version

Non-farm payroll employment over-the-month change, seasonally adjusted, April, 2014 - April, 2016

Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics "Employment Situation Report" for April 2016

Economic growth appears to have slowed in April. Economists predicted we would see 200,000 more jobs. Actual non-farm employment in April increased by 160,000. There is good news – as of April we will see 65 months of consecutive positive employment. Notable job growth occurred in healthcare, professional business services, and leisure and hospitality.

Retail and Government are the only sectors to experience significant downward trends.

There is really good news! The low unemployment rate continues to have an impact on average earnings, now at $25.53. Average wages increased 8 cents from March and are 2.5% higher than this time last year.

The number of jobs added in February 2016 was revised from +245,000 to +233,000, and the March count has gone from +215,000 to +208,000, accounting for a difference of -19,000 jobs than were previously reported for the last two months. Gains have still averages 200,00 per month over the past 3 months. In Your Industry

In Your Industry

Nearly every industry continues to grow, with some subsectors experiencing loss that was counterbalanced by strength in other areas. Transportation and manufacturing have recovered a bit after losses in February. Retail, a sector that has experienced relatively strong gains suffered notable decreases in April. Keep reading for an overview of industry-specific employment numbers.

Construction has experienced a decreased rate of growth, only gaining 1000 jobs in April as compared to over 30,000 in March. Specialty trade contractors (-5,400) saw the biggest loss. The +8,200 increase in Building Constriction jobs supported the industries modest growth.

Manufacturing, recovering from a downward trend over the past few months, Manufacturing gained 4,000 jobs in April. Most subsectors experienced minimal changes. The manufacturing of Durable Goods supported growth in this industry with an increase of 6,000 jobs. That growth was offset by losses of -1,000 and -1,200 in Primary Metals and Machinery respectively.

Retail trade's staggering growth was stunted for the first time in months with (-3,100). Both Clothing/ Clothing Accessories stores and general merchandise stores downsized by -4,000 jobs each. Modest gains in other areas prevented the sector from suffering more significant loss. Electronics, Health/ Personal Care, Food, Gas and Miscellaneous all saw modest growth.

Transportation and warehousing has recovered a bit, after loss in March, we have seen and increase of +8,600 in April. Warehousing and storage saw the most significant gains with +6,500. Increases in Air transportation (+2,400) and Courier/ Messenger Services (+2,500) helped to support the sectors growth as well.

Professional and business services continues to grow, adding 65,000 jobs overall. Nearly every subsector added jobs. The biggest contributors were Professional and technical services (+31,000), Administrative and waste services (+30,800) and Employment services (+15,500).

Education and health services have consistently added a higher number of jobs to the economy (+55,000). The majority of those gains continue to be healthcare and social assistance sectors (+38,200) Social assistance subsectors trended downward.

Hospital added 22,900 jobs in April, reflecting healthcare steady growth.

Leisure and hospitality has experienced amazing growth and continues to do so, adding 22,000 jobs. Accommodation and food service (+18,300) tends to lead this industry; growth in this subsector accounted for more than half of the net increase.

Temporary help services continue to rebound, adding 9,300 positions in April.

In Your Region

Regional and state unemployment rates continued to hold steady between February and March. Employment rates increased in 22 states, decreased in 15 and remained the same in 14 as well as the District of Columbia. Year over year, 36 states and the District of Columbia have seen an increase in employment.

The joblessness rate is lower than March of 2015. The largest month-over-month job gains were in Maryland (+19,300), Ohio (+18,300) and New Jersey (+17,300). Note that Idaho, Utah and Oregon all saw significant year-over-year increases in their employment rates, each increasing by 3% or more.

Check out these key regional highlights from the BLS “Regional and State Employment and Unemployment – March 2016" report.


The Mid-Atlantic region showed an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent (+0.1 from the previous month and -0.9 from Mar. 2015). New Jersey had the lowest unemployment rate in this region at 4.4 percent. Pennsylvania is the highest with 4.9 percent. At 4.8 percent, the Mid - Atlantic region has a joblessness rate that is 0.2 percent lower than the National average.


The Midwest unemployment rate remains consistently low at 4.8 and remained steady between February and March, falling 0.2 percent from the previous year. Illinois was the only state in the Midwest with an unemployment rate significantly above the national average, at 6.5%. This represents an increase of .1% from the previous month. Energy and logistics industries are keeping the Midwestern employment rates high.

North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas and Idaho all have unemployment rates below 4.0. Michigan is still at 4.8 percent, with Detroit-Warren-Dearborn well above the national rate at 5.7 percent.


The New England region has an unemployment rate 0f 4.5%. Since March of last year, the region’s joblessness rate has fallen by 0.7 percent. Vermont and New Hampshire have some of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation both at 3.3% and 2.6% respectively. Both have dropped .1% from the previous month.


The South’s unemployment rate only fell .01% to 4.9% month-over-month. The South is a largest region with lots a variance. The South Atlantic (5.1%) and East South Central (5.4%) regions both have average unemployment rates that are above the national average. Oklahoma (4.4 percent), Arkansas (4.0 percent) and Virginia (4.0 percent) have the lowest unemployment rates of the region.


The west continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the country at 5.1 percent. Year-over-year, the West's unemployment rate has dropped by nearly a percentage point from 6.0. Colorado has on of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates at 2.9%. While Washington

(5.8%), Nevada (5.8%) and New Mexico (6.2%) have some of the highest. California’s continued to add a significant number of jobs despite high unemployment rates (+420,800 YOY).