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The employment situation in May 2012

June 04, 2012

Total nonfarm payroll employment changed little in May (+69,000). Employment increased in health care, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade but declined in construction. Employment was little changed in most other major industries.

One-month change in payroll employment, by industry, May 2012 Construction Government Leisure and hospitality Information Professional and business services Mining and logging Retail trade Wholesale trade Transportation and warehousing Education and health services Manufacturing Other services Financial activities Utilities
[Chart data]

Health care employment continued to increase in May (+33,000). Within the industry, employment in ambulatory health care services, which includes offices of physicians and outpatient care centers, rose by 23,000 over the month. Over the year, health care employment has risen by 340,000.

Transportation and warehousing added 36,000 jobs 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. Employment in both industries has shown little net change over the year. In May, truck transportation added 7,000 jobs.

Employment in wholesale trade rose by 16,000 over the month. Since reaching an employment low in May 2010, this industry has added 184,000 jobs.

Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in May (+12,000) following a similar change in April (+9,000). Job gains averaged 41,000 per month in the first quarter of this year. In May, employment rose in fabricated metal products (+6,000) and in primary metals (+4,000). Since its most recent low in January 2010, manufacturing employment has increased by 495,000.

Construction employment declined by 28,000 in May, with job losses occurring in specialty trade contractors (−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.

In May, the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.2 percent.

Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, April 2010–April 2012
[Chart data]

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.8 percent) and Hispanics (11.0 percent) edged up in May, while the rates for adult women (7.4 percent), teenagers (24.6 percent), whites (7.4 percent), and blacks (13.6 percent) showed little or no change.

These data are from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Current Population Survey programs and are seasonally adjusted. Employment data from the establishment survey for the most recent two months are preliminary. To learn more, see "The Employment Situation — May 2012," (HTML) (PDF) news release USDL-12-1070. More charts featuring CES employment data from the establishment survey can be found in Current Employment Statistics Highlights: May 2012 (PDF)


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, The employment situation in May 2012 at (visited July 13, 2024).

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