Friday, June 4, 2010

Payroll Employment Up 431,000 - Almost Entirely Due to Census Hiring

In May, payroll employment jumped by 431,000. However, virtually the entire gain was due to the temporary hiring of census workers, which added 411,000 workers to payrolls. Private sector payrolls only grew by 41,000. Though positive, this was the weakest growth rate since January. Private sector employment had been accelerating and gaining momentum in recent months, reaching 218,000 new jobs in April. May’s slowdown halted this trend. Going forward, due to the temporary nature of census workers, this factor will be a drag on payroll growth in the near future months as their employment comes to an end.

The increase in payrolls in May drove down the unemployment rate to 9.7% from 9.9% in April. However, the labor force participation rate, which had been steadily recovering since last December, fell 0.2%. The workforce declined by over 320,000 during the month, suggesting that many individuals are again becoming discouraged workers.

10.06.04 (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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