The chart below (click to enlarge) shows monthly private-sector jobs since January 2005 calculated by the BLS from two different methods: a) the household survey, which is larger and includes self-employed workers, and b) the establishment survey, based on company payroll records.
Over time they move very closely, although monthly variations are common - for May the household survey showed a gain of 373,000 private-sector jobs, compared to a gain of only 83,000 private payroll jobs.
But since the cyclical bottom in December 2009, both surveys are showing gains of more than 2.1 million private-sector jobs, which is a healthy increase of 132,000 private-sector jobs per month on average. In the first five months of 2011 through May, private sector job growth has accelerated to an average of 200,000 new jobs per month, according to the household survey.
For some related commentary, see Scott Grannis' post on Friday "The Employment Situation Continues to Improve," with this conclusion:
The economy may have hit a mild soft patch, but it is not sinking and is likely to continue to grow. Optimists will once again be rewarded for their patience.
Scott also comments on the positive effects of the decline in public sector jobs:
We are now seeing evidence that a significant shrinkage in the bloated public sector workforce doesn't necessarily lead to a painful result for the economy as a whole. In fact, cutting back government spending can free up resources that can be put to better use by the private sector, making the economy stronger over time. This is a trend that is now firmly in place, and that's very good news.
Additionally, Brian Wesbury commented yesterday that:
Yes, May data shows a “soft patch,” but the economy is still expanding and should accelerate in the months ahead.