May jobs report delivers mixed bag of news for the economy

Dan Li |
Chief Financial Officer | Snagajob + PhD in Economics | Northwestern University

The U.S. economy added 339,000 jobs in May, far exceeding economists’ predictions. Strong hiring numbers point to the economy’s continued resilience in the face of inflation, interest hikes, and debt ceiling insecurity, further delaying the possibility of a recession later this year.

While experts at the Federal Reserve have signaled a possible pause in interest rate increases at this month’s meeting, the robust job numbers may force them to reconsider an eleventh consecutive increase. 

Unemployment rose in May from 3.4% to 3.7% matching the 12-month peak last seen in October. After reaching a historically low unemployment rate in April, Black Americans became unemployed at a higher rate in May, sending the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate back up nearly a full percentage point from 4.7% to 5.6%.

Here’s your roundup of key insights from the report:

  • Washington Post: “The rate of workers who quit their jobs fell in April, almost returning to its pre-pandemic levels, suggesting workers are less confident in their ability to switch jobs now than they were last year.”

  • New York Times: “The dissonance offered a somewhat muddled picture that complicates the calculus for the Federal Reserve, which has been raising interest rates for more than a year to temper the labor market’s momentum and rein in price increases.”

  • Wall Street Journal: “Payrolls jumped 339,000 in May from April and previous months were revised up by 93,000. Combined, that is double what Wall Street expected.”

On Snagajob, Summer Hiring, with more than 125,000 seasonal jobs currently available, is offsetting an overall decline of about 6% month over month. Notable gains were seen in the Construction (+13%), Maintenance (+29%), and Education industries (+8%).

Snagajob can help you with your hiring needs, delivering high-quality applicants even in times of economic uncertainty. Contact our team today to learn about our solutions for businesses of all sizes.

Hourly Jobs

All industry data is from 3/2/20-5/31/2023

Here are the latest overall job numbers:

Overall hourly jobs are up 58% from February 2020's pre-pandemic numbers, while we are seeing a 6% month-over-month decline.

Here are the latest job numbers by industry and category:

Food & Restaurant jobs are up 1% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 2% month-over-month and 27% year-over-year decline.

Hotel & Hospitality jobs are down 46% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 5% month-over-month drop, and a 70% year-over-year decline.

Healthcare jobs are up 259% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 3% month-over-month increase, and a 39% year-over-year growth.

Retail jobs are down 34% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 4% month-over-month drop, and a 55% year-over-year decline.

Warehouse & Logistics jobs are up 239% compared to pre-pandemic norms, seeing a 57% month-over-month and a 73% year-over-year decline.

Shifts by Snagajob fill rates are showing a 4% month-over-month increase, with 3% year-over-year growth.