Business & Economy

The U.S. added 339,000 jobs in May. It's a stunningly strong number

A customer walks by a "Now Hiring" sign posted in front of a store in Novato, Calif., on April 7, 2023. The labor market remains red hot. That's great for workers, but it's bound to reinforce concerns about high inflation.
A customer walks by a "Now Hiring" sign posted in front of a store in Novato, Calif., on April 7, 2023. The labor market remains red hot. That's great for workers, but it's bound to reinforce concerns about high inflation.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Hiring surged last month as U.S. employers added 339,000 jobs, far above expectations, according to a report from the Labor Department on Friday.

The job growth for March and April were also stronger than previously reported. The April jobs data was revised up by 41,000 to 294,000 jobs, while the March numbers were revised up by 52,000.

The strong jobs numbers indicate the U.S. jobs engine continues to chug along, with substantial growth in business services, health care and hospitality.

For example, construction companies added 25,000 jobs even as high interest rates have weighed on the housing market.

The unemployment rate, which is compiled from a separate survey, paints a somewhat different picture. Unemployment, which been at a half century low, inched up in May to 3-point-7 percent.

The data extends the labor market's red-hot streak and is bound to reinforce concerns about inflation. A strong jobs market is great for workers, but it can help push up inflation, making the Federal Reserve's job to bring down prices much more difficult.

The jobs report is one of several factors the Fed will need to consider as it decides whether to continue raising interest rates or whether to pause and assess economic conditions. It meets again later this month.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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