Though the Labor Department reported the unemployment rate increased to 8.2 percent, the most disappointing figures may be the number of jobs the economy did not add in May.
The stock markets, with some of the worst losses in May, responded accordingly on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.2 percent to 12,122 in afternoon trading while the S&P 500 fell 2.5 percent to 1,278. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index fell 2.7 percent to 2,750.
Here are eight key figures from the Labor Department’s jobs report for May:
- 12.7 Million: The number of people currently unemployed in the United States.
Out of the 155 million people in the civilian labor force, this figure has not changed significantly from the beginning of this year, when it was 12.8 million.
- 5.4 Million: The number of long-term unemployed in May (those who’ve been jobless for 27 weeks or more) which rose from 5.1 million, accounting for 42.8 percent of the unemployed.
- 28,000: Number of construction jobs lost in May.
The construction industry has shrunk since the start of the job market recovery, said Gary Burtless, a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institute, and has continued to shrink in the past four months. Job losses in the construction sector occurred in specialty trade contractors, which can include plumbing, electrical work, site prep (-18,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (-11,000). Since reaching a low in January 2011, employment in construction has shown little change on net, the Labor Department reported.
- 13,000: Government jobs lost.
While there had been hope that the layoffs in the government sector were over, the state and federal sectors each lost 5,000 jobs. Included in the latter were 2,900 U.S. Postal Service jobs lost. Local government lost 3,000 jobs.
- 33,000: People hired to work in health care.
The health care sector was one of three industries that saw relatively notable job gains. In May those hired to work in doctor’s offices, emergency rooms, among other health settings, accounted for more than half of jobs added. Since December 2009, payroll increases in this sector have accounted for almost a quarter of all private-sector employment gains, said Burtless. Over the year, health care employment has risen by 340,000.
- 36,000: Transportation and warehousing jobs added over the month.
Employment gains in transit and ground passenger transportation (+20,000) and in couriers and messengers (+5,000) followed job losses in those industries in April. But employment in both industries has shown little net change over the year. In May, truck transportation added 7,000 jobs.
- 16,000: Jobs added in wholesale trade.
Defined as business sales and inventories to governments and institutions by Investopedia, wholesale trade includes durable and nondurable goods. The industry is the other side of retail trade, which includes sales of cars and other consumer products. Since reaching an employment low in May 2010, wholesale trade has added 184,000 jobs.
- 12,000: Manufacturing jobs added.
Employment in this sector continued to trend up in May following a similar change in April (+9,000). Job gains averaged 41,000 per month in the first quarter of this year. Since its most recent low in January 2010, manufacturing employment has increased by 495,000. Since December 2009 manufacturing has accounted for 12 percent of private sector job gains.