Burke, VA. – The U.S. economy added 280,000 jobs in the month of May, after a disappointing first quarter that saw the economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.7 percent due to harsh winter and a rising trade deficit.
“This is the best jobs report of 2015,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. With the May addition, the total number of new jobs over the last 63 months rises to 12.6 million, he said. Employers created 221,000 jobs in April and 119,000 in March, according to the revised estimates by the Labor Department.
Job gains occurred in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and health care. Mining employment continued to decline.
The rising employment may induce consumer spending and give further boost to the economy in the second quarter. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the overall economic activity that grew at a slower 1.8 percent in the January-March quarter.
The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.5 percent. This is the ninth straight month under 6 percent after 74 straight months above 6 percent.
Average hourly earnings for employees on private payrolls rose by 8 cents in May. The 2.3 percent increase from last May is the largest year-over-year increase since August 2013.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was about unchanged at 6.7 million in May and has shown little movement in recent months. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.