Job Market Update: May 2017

What's the latest with the unemployment rate? We've got the details and the takeaways.

Articles

Jobs Added

138,000

  • Leisure and Hospitality

    31,000

  • Professional & Business Services

    38,000

  • Finance

    11,000

  • Education & Health Services

    47,000

  • Manufacturing

    -1,000

  • Retail Trade

    -6,100

  • Construction

    11,000

  • Trade, Transportation & Utilities

    3,600

The fourth job report under President Trump fell slightly in May with only 138,000 jobs added. 174,000 jobs were added in April, revised down from previous reports of 211,000. However, since January of this year, the unemployment rate has dropped from 4.8% to its now new record low of 4.3%.

March saw the lowest impact this year – when only an estimated 79,000 jobs were added – but this month’s increase has economists comfortable saying the country is close to full employment.

As the economy continues to recover from the recession, which began 8 years ago this month, businesses may feel nervous about being able to find the talent they need for open positions – especially come holiday shopping season, where extra staff will be needed to help meet consumer demand.

The growth "is three times the rate of the growth in the underlying labor force," Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said in an interview to CNBC– meaning the unemployment rate is quickly headed to 4 percent. He also confirmed that "increasingly, businesses’ number one challenge will be a shortage of labor."

Scroll down to see how we think employers can combat this – especially as they begin to prepare for the holiday season – in our "Why This is So Important" section.

Job Growth by Industry

May 2017

Unemployment Rate

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.3%

  • Change from Last Month

    -0.1%

In Your Region

April 2017

So what’s going on specifically in your region of the country? We broke it down for you (a reminder that the state unemployment report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is released 1 month after the national unemployment report – so for this section, we’re talking about the month of April.)

Unemployment rates were lower in 10 states in April and stable in 39 states. Colorado had the lowest unemployment rate, followed by Hawaii. Not looking to move to the mountains or paradise? Arkansas and Oregon also set new series lows, at 3.5% and 3.7%.

The Southern region has the current highest unemployment rate at 4.8%, while the Midwest has the current lowest at 3.7%.

West

West

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.3%

  • Change from Last Month

    -0.3%

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

Colorado (2.3 percent) / New Mexico (6.7 percent)

Midwest

Midwest

  • Unemployment Rate

    3.7%

  • Change from Last Month

    -0.6%

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

North Dakota (2.7 percent) / Ohio (5 percent)

Northeast

Northeast

  • Unemployment Rate

    3.9%

  • Change from Last Month

    -0.1%

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

New Hampshire (2.8 percent) / Pennsylvania & Connecticut (4.9 percent)

West

South

  • Unemployment Rate

    4.8%

  • Change from Last Month

    Flat

Lowest and highest unemployment rates

Virginia (3.8 percent) / District of Columbia (5.9 percent)

Why This is So Important

With so many Americans currently employed, businesses have reported having trouble finding the talent they need. Job seekers have multiple options for employment, so employers need to do everything they can to make their job offerings attractive – and competitive.

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again – increasing your pay wages is the most effective way to gain an edge on your competition, and actually save your bottom line. How?

Because the less you pay your employees, the higher your turnover rate – and the more you’re spending on scouting and training all over again.

To illustrate this fact, we built a calculator that allows employers to see if their hourly pay rate affects their monthly turnover– check it out here. In most cases, it does.

Will job additions, along with the unemployment rate, continue to decrease as companies pay more? We’ll have to wait and see. Check back next month for our next BLS report, released July 7!

This image and all data supporting this monthly blog post is provided by the BLS Regional and State Unemployment Report and the BLS Employment Situation Summary.

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