Labor Market Stumbles in May

By Lindsay Hogan, Senior Economist

Job growth slowed in May to 138,000, falling short of consensus estimates that ranged from 180,000 to 185,000 positions. Downward revisions to the prior two months totaled 66,000 jobs.



Although the three-month moving average for job gains slowed to 121,000 with the May data, down from levels above 150,000 earlier in the year, job growth remains above the threshold needed to keep up with labor force expansion. Consequently, the unemployment rate fell for the fifth consecutive month to 4.3% in May. As in April, however, the drop was largely due to the continued decline in the labor force participation rate which slipped to 62.7%, near the lowest levels since the 1970s.

The private sector added 131,000 jobs in May, with the biggest gains coming from education and healthcare (+47,000), professional and business services (+38,000), and leisure and hospitality (+31,000). Following a pause in hiring during March and April, the construction sector added 11,000 jobs in May, as gains in heavy and civil engineering (+7,200), nonresidential construction (+3,500), and residential building (+2,000) offset a minor loss in specialty trade contracting (-1,200). The public sector shed 9,000 positions in May, as losses in state (-8,000) and local (-9,000) government jobs offset the 8,000 hires by the federal government.

This employment report is the last the Federal Reserve will see before its policy meeting on June 13-14. Despite weaker-than-expected May employment figures, the Fed is unlikely to be derailed from its path to raise the federal funds rate to the range of 1.0-1.25%. At the same time, long-term interest rates have continued to stay at low levels, with the 10-year Treasury bill rate slipping to 2.3% at the end of May following 2.5% earlier this year.



About Dodge Data & Analytics:

Dodge Data & Analytics is North America’s leading provider of commercial construction project data, market forecasting & analytics services and workflow integration solutions for the construction industry. Building product manufacturers, architects, engineers, contractors, and service providers leverage Dodge to identify and pursue unseen growth opportunities that help them grow their business. On a local, regional or national level, Dodge empowers its customers to better understand their markets, uncover key relationships, seize growth opportunities, and pursue specific sales opportunities with success. The company’s construction project information is the most comprehensive and verified in the industry.

As of April 15th, Dodge Data & Analytics and The Blue Book -- the largest, most active network in the U.S. commercial construction industry -- combined their businesses in a merger. The Blue Book Network delivers three unparalleled databases of companies, projects, and people.

Dodge and The Blue Book offer 10+ billion data elements and 14+ million project and document searches. Together, they provide a unified approach for new business generation, business planning, research, and marketing services users can leverage to find the best partners to complete projects and to engage with customers and prospects to promote projects, products, and services. To learn more, visit: and

Media Contact

Eric Becker | 104 West Partners |