May jobs report shows increased, but slow, hiring

Applicants wait in line to meet potential employers at the Diversity Job Fair in Manhattan, New York City.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released reports today that the economy added 175,000 jobs in May — slightly above expectations from economists and analysts.

The national unemployment rate did rise to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent —  but that's likely because the nation's employment participation rate grew, which means more people are looking for work.

Though the nation added jobs, economists are worring about the type of jobs that are hiring. Temporary and restaurant jobs gained the most jobs in May, while government jobs were cut. 

Bloomberg's Nela Richardson said the report was "good news for the market, [but] bad news for the long-time trends in particularly the middle class. The headline should be, 'Markets are happy, economy creates a lot of crummy jobs.'" 

Richardson added, "if you look behind the headline numbers, the 175,000 jobs, you’ll find that most of the job growth was in low-wage sectors. You’ll also see that wage growth hasn’t kept up with inflation."

Cardiff Garcia from FT's Alphaville said the jobs report was, "Good news ... ish." "It was the 2nd such report that showed we’re not going into a mid-year swoon, despite taxes [going] up a little bit, [and] despite the government spending less money because of the sequester."

#Longreads for the weekend

Nela Richardson and Cardiff Garcia share their #longreads picks for this weekend.

Nela selected: 

Cardiff chose:

  • John Jeremiah Sullivan writes about Cotton Tenants, the long-lost manuscript by James Agee about his time spent among Alabama farmers in the 1930s.
  • It's easy to point out when economists are wrong, but Noah Smith lets us know they're still worth listening to
  • And speaking of criticisms of economists, Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig defend their new book (pdf warning) by taking down flawed claims about their book.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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