(CN) – Employers across the United States added a total 223,000 in May, pushing the unemployment rate to 3.8 percent — an 18-year low, the Labor Department said Friday.
The numbers for May were a huge jump from April, when employers added only 159,000 jobs.
The economy added 223,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported Friday, up from 159,000 in April. The unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, down from April’s 3.9 percent.
Average hourly private-sector earnings were up 2.7 percent over the previous year. In April, they were up 2.6 percent.
According to the government, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in May, compared with an average monthly gain of 191,000 over the prior 12 months.
Over the month, employment continued to trend up in several industries, including retail trade, health care, and construction.
Retailers added 31,000 jobs, with gains occurring in general merchandise stores (+13,000)
and in building material and garden supply stores (+6,000).
So far this year, retailers have added a total 125,000 jobs.
Employment in health care rose by 29,000 in May, about in line with the average monthly gain over the
prior 12 months.
Ambulatory health care services added 18,000 jobs over the month, and employment in hospitals continued to trend up (+6,000).
Employment in construction continued on an upward trend in May (+25,000) and has risen by 286,000
over the past 12 months.
Employment in professional and technical services continued to trend up in May (+23,000) and has
risen by 206,000 over the year.
Transportation and warehousing added 19,000 jobs over the month and 156,000 over the year.
Manufacturing employment continued to expand over the month (+18,000). Durable goods accounted
for most of the change, including an increase of 6,000 jobs in machinery. Manufacturing employment
has risen by 259,000 over the year, with about three-fourths of the growth in durable goods industries.
Employment remained little change in other major industries in May, including wholesale trade, information,
financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government.