May 2024 Jobs Report: The Latest Employment Trends

The latest job report for May provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of employment in the United States. 

May’s Key Findings

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a substantial increase in total nonfarm payroll employment, with 272,000 jobs added in May. This uptick surpasses the average monthly gain of 232,000 observed over the previous 12 months, showcasing an accelerating pace in job creation. 

Key sectors include:

  • Healthcare
  • Government
  • Leisure and Hospitality
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

These sectors have been at the forefront of economic expansion, playing a pivotal role in driving employment opportunities. The sustained job growth across these industries underscores the diverse and robust nature of the U.S. economy, providing a solid foundation for future economic activity and workforce participation.

Sector-Specific Employment Trends

The sectors of health care, government, leisure and hospitality, and professional, scientific, and technical services saw considerable employment gains in May, demonstrating the dynamic nature of the labor market. 


Health care led the way with a robust addition of 68,000 jobs, reflecting ongoing demand for medical services and the sector's resilience. 


Government roles expanded by 43,000 positions, indicating a stable increase in public sector employment which aligns with the sector's growth over the past year. 

Leisure and Hospitality

The leisure and hospitality sector added 42,000 jobs this month. Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up over the month.

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Meanwhile, the professional, scientific, and technical services sector grew by 32,000 jobs, with notable increases in management, scientific, and technical consulting services. This growth underscores the importance of innovation and expertise in fueling the economy and job creation.

These sector-specific trends not only highlight areas of strong employment growth but also point to the diverse opportunities available to job seekers in the current economic landscape.

Unemployment Rates

The detailed breakdown of unemployment rates by demographic categories provides a nuanced understanding of the labor market's current state. May's report shows a stabilization across various groups with little to no shift in unemployment percentages. Adult men registered an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, while adult women had a slightly lower rate at 3.4 percent. Teenagers, often the most volatile demographic in terms of employment, saw their unemployment rate remain at 12.3 percent. 

The Significance of Long-term Unemployment Figures

May's job report reveals a persistently high number of individuals categorized as long-term unemployed, tallying up to 1.4 million. This specific segment of the workforce, having searched for work for 27 weeks or more, highlights a critical area needing focused intervention and strategies. Their prolonged absence from employment not only affects personal livelihoods but also poses a broader economic challenge, as it can dampen consumer spending and reduce overall economic dynamism.

Effective Initiatives

Initiatives aimed at re-skilling and up-skilling, coupled with targeted job placement programs, could serve as effective tools in reintegrating these individuals into the workforce. Furthermore, understanding the underlying factors that contribute to long-term unemployment—be it industry shifts, technological advancements, or geographical mismatches—is essential for crafting policies that not only address the symptoms but also tackle the root causes of this issue. Engaging with this group more effectively will ensure a more inclusive recovery and strengthen the labor market's resilience.

Earnings and Workweek Trends

In May, there was a noticeable uptick in workers' compensation, with average hourly earnings for all employees in the private sector climbing by 14 cents to $34.91. This rise, amounting to a 0.4 percent increase from the previous month, marks a continuation of positive wage growth, evidenced by a 4.1 percent rise over the year. Such increments reflect not only improved income prospects for workers but also contribute to consumer spending and economic vitality. 

Moreover, the stability in the average workweek, holding firm at 34.3 hours, along with a slight increase in overtime hours in the manufacturing sector, suggests steady demand for labor. These metrics underscore the labor market's resilience and provide a comprehensive view of the current employment landscape, shedding light on both the rewards and commitments of the workforce.

For further reading, check out our other blogs on topics related to the job market.

Are you looking for top talent? Reach out to us today to get started.

Looking for your next career change? Explore our open jobs today.

Get the latest updates and exclusive content – subscribe to our newsletter!

Partner with Premier today.

Where in striving to do better we transform lives in shared partnership with our exceptional employer and talent communities.

other blog posts that might interest you

No items found.