The U.S. labor market continued its gradual improvement in May. The economy added 175,000 new payroll jobs, somewhat more than in March and April, as shown in the following chart. Payroll job growth was strongest in service sectors, with retail trade, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality all showing strong growth. Construction added 7,000 jobs but those were offset by a decrease in manufacturing jobs, so that there was no net job growth in the goods-producing sectors. The addition of 13,000 local government jobs helped to offset continued job cuts at the federal and state levels.
The household survey, which includes self-employed persons and farm workers, showed an increase of 319,000 jobs. Some 420,000 new workers entered or re-entered the labor force, bringing the employment-population ratio up slightly. Since the labor force increased by more than the number of employed workers, the number of unemployed also increased.
The unemployment rate, which is the ratio of unemployed workers to the labor force, rose fractionally from 7.513 percent to 7.553 percent. That will be enough for news headlines, which usually show the unemployment rate rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent, to report an increase from 7.5 to 7.6 percent.