May 2021 Jobs Report: Employers Add 559,000 Jobs

By Robert Half on June 4, 2021 at 7:30am

U.S. employers expanded payrolls by 559,000 positions last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This nearly doubles last month’s gains but still falls just short of most economists’ estimation of about 674,000 added jobs. Employers in leisure and hospitality once again took the lead in hiring, adding 292,000 positions in May as pandemic-related restrictions continued to ease in some parts of the country.

The latest jobs report also notes that new job creation in March and April was higher than previously reported — by 27,000 positions. With these adjustments, the U.S. economy has seen employment rise by nearly 2.4 million jobs since the beginning of 2021.

Several industries saw notable job gains in May

In addition to the leisure and hospitality industry, the following industries experienced job growth last month, according to the BLS:

  • Education and health services: 87,000 jobs added
  • Government: 67,000 jobs added
  • Professional and business services: 35,000 jobs added
  • Information: 29,000 jobs added
  • Manufacturing: 23,000 jobs added
  • Transportation and warehousing: 22,900 jobs added
  • Wholesale trade: 19,900 jobs added

Unemployment edges down to 5.8%

The unemployment rate last month was 5.8%, down from 6.1% in April.

The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers who are 25 or older also inched down to 3.2% from 3.5% in April. These workers are in highest demand by employers.

Many in-demand roles have even lower unemployment rates, other BLS data show. Examples include administrative support professionals (3.1%), accountants and auditors (2.6%), and network and computer systems administrators (0.6%).

Percentage of remote workers declines slightly

The BLS also reports that in May, 16.6% of employed persons worked remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic, down from 18.3% in the prior month. The BLS describes these workers as employed persons who worked away from the office for pay at some point in the last four weeks specifically because of the pandemic.

Other BLS data shows millions of jobs sitting open

In May, the BLS released its latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) report, showing that there were 8.1 million job openings in the U.S. on the last business day of March. This figure marked a high for the JOLTS series, which the BLS launched in December 2000.

Find out more about the latest hiring trends

The Demand for Skilled Talent report from Robert Half provides the latest data on hiring trends and top positions for several key industries, including accounting and finance, technology, healthcare, and government. See research from our company on remote work trends and employers’ business confidence levels, hiring and pay increase plans, and more.

Check out the report now on the Robert Half website.

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