No Let Up in the U.S. Economy
June 1, 2018
The employment report for the month of May was stellar.
May nonfarm payrolls increased 223,000, which was above the consensus estimate of 190,000. This is the highest reading since April 2000, and prior to that this number hadn’t been seen since 1969.
The average monthly gain over the prior 12 months is 191,000, and over the last three months it’s 179,000. The number of unemployed decreased by 281,000 to 6.07 million while those employed rose by 293,000 to 155.47 million.
Here are some other highlights:
- Average hourly earnings for private nonfarm payrolls increased 0.3% to $26.92, in line with estimates and ahead of April’s 0.1%.
- Annualized wage growth increased $0.71, or 2.7%.
- The average workweek was in line with the estimate of 34.5 hours, which was unchanged from April. Both the manufacturing workweek and factory overtime decreased 0.2 hours.
- The unemployment rate was 3.8%, which was 0.1% below the estimate and the prior month. This was the lowest rate since April 2000.
- The participation rate declined to 62.7% versus April’s rate of 62.8%.
The U6 rate, which is often referred to as the real unemployment rate as it accounts for unemployed and underemployed workers, was 7.6%, down from last month’s 7.8%.
Job gains were widespread across the board, excluding temporary help, which declined by 8,000:
- Retail: +31,000
- Healthcare: +29,000
- Construction: +25,000
- Manufacturing: +18,000
- Mining: +6,000
- Transportation and warehousing: 19,000
Overall, the labor markets remain extremely tight and there are shortages for skilled labor. Wages rose slightly, but there is still more room to grow. As wages rise, hopefully more of the U6 people get back to work.
The market likes the news, and the indices rallied today as a result. The economy is really ripping and both businesses and consumers are optimistic. That points to more profits ahead, so please don’t let headlines that are speculative and have very little to do with fundamentals shake you out of the market. This is still a time to be making money.