May Jobs Report Disappoints Despite 16-Year Unemployment Low

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Unemployment dipped to 4.3 percent in May. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The job market took a step backward in May, according to new Labor Department statistics that show a lower-than-expected 138,000 jobs added to the economy, a falling labor-force participation rate, and stagnant wages.

Friday’s report revised downward job growth from the previous two months, with 29,000 jobs taken off of March’s gains and April’s falling by 37,000.

A deeper dig into the May job-creation numbers shows even-more disconcerting numbers. Full-time jobs fell last month by 367,000 while part-time jobs ticked upward by 133,000. That constitutes the biggest drop in full-time jobs in nearly two years.

The headline number for some will be the 4.3 percent unemployment rate, a 16-year low. But that number, down from 4.4 percent in April, was driven by a decrease in the labor participation rate, which fell to 62.7 percent from 62.9 percent.

Meanwhile, wage growth remained disappointing, with a 0.2 percent bump from last month and 2.5 percent year-over-year increase.

May Jobs Report Disappoints Despite 16-Year Unemployment Low