390,000 jobs added in May; the U.S. near or at full employment

Private companies added 390,000 jobs last month. Unemployment remained at 3.6%. While this is slower growth than in recent months, economists are greeting it with smiles.

“We are on the verge of a complete private sector recovery,” Ziprecruiter’s Chief Economist Julie Pollak tweeted. “With 99% of private sector jobs lost in the pandemic now recovered, but only 58% of the public sector jobs.”

Full employment, from the economist's perspective, is a complex concept, but it essentially means everyone who wants or can work a job has one. There will be a constant rate of unemployment as people transition from one job to the next, but there will be few people on long-term unemployment.

Unemployment was expected to drop to 3.5%, the level it was at before the pandemic. It didn't because job growth has slowed. Many economists, such as Mark Zandi from Moody's, expressed optimism because of this fact.

Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody's Analytics, tweeted, “Job growth needs to slow more this summer – get down closer to 150k. This will ensure the economy doesn’t blow past full-employment, fan wage growth, and exacerbate the high inflation. But today’s job report suggests that’s precisely where the economy is headed.”

The Biden presidency has added over 8.5 million jobs, the largest growth in history. His predecessor, Donald Trump, oversaw the first shrinkage of the jobs market in modern history. It should be noted that Trump left in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. After shutdowns and layoffs, following the arrival of vaccines and immunity of the population, any President would have seen massive job growth as the economy recovered and the nation got back to normal.

Employers are still struggling to find staff, but the situation should begin to feel more normal soon.

Photo by Ernie Journeys on Unsplash.

Bob Peryea

National Correspondent

The Kentucky Daily

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