U.S. employers expanded their payrolls by 75,000 positions in May, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That figure is significantly lower than economists’ forecasts. Updated figures for March and April also show that job gains were 75,000 less than the BLS had previously reported. With these revisions, job growth has averaged 151,000 per month over the last three months.

Professional and business services employers led job growth in May, adding 33,000 positions. The BLS reports that over the past 12 months, that sector has created 498,000 jobs. Education and health services employers increased payrolls in May, as well, adding 27,000 jobs. Also, leisure and hospitality employers added 26,000 positions last month.

Unemployment rate stands at 50-year low

The national unemployment rate held steady in May at 3.6%, which is a 50-year low. The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers who are 25 or older — the professionals most highly sought by employers — was also unchanged from April: 2.1%.

What employers need to know

Summer is almost here — and that means many of your team members are getting ready to make good use of their vacation time. Robert Half research shows that more than half (58%) of workers save their vacation time for the months of June, July and August. And most workers plan on taking 10 days off this summer, on average.

Of course, the business itself won’t be taking a vacation. Even during the summertime slowdown, work still needs to get done.

One way to keep everyday work and vital projects moving forward during the summer is to bring in seasonal employees. Temporary project professionals can cover for staffing gaps while your full-time employees are taking some well-deserved time off.

Meanwhile, you can step back, evaluate your firm’s hiring needs and make sure you have the right resources in place for the remainder of the year. You may even discover that the temporary employees you engage for the summer would make great full-time employees for your business all year-round.

You can’t always predict when your company will need extra help. Learn how seasonal employees can benefit your workplace.

What job seekers need to know

Many candidates believe they should put their job search on hold during the summer, thinking, “What’s the point? Nobody is hiring right now.” But the fact is, the summer months are far from sleepy when it comes to hiring: Businesses of all types plan to recruit new employees in June, July and August.

Companies are staffing up to meet anticipated workload demands in the fourth quarter. Hiring new employees now gives them ample time to onboard and train these workers before fall. And for many businesses, the summer hiring push is on top of their ongoing efforts to fill other critical roles in the organization.

In a hot hiring market, candidates with in-demand skills don’t usually have to wait long to find a job opportunity. If you’re in a field like technology or finance, for example, you could have an array of options to consider. Unemployment in these industries is trending well below the national average, according to recent BLS figures. For instance, unemployment for accountants was just 1.8% in the first quarter of 2019; for software developers, it was 1.6%.

If you aren’t ready to pursue a full-time job this summer, consider working as a seasonal employee. It can help you build up your resume — and expand your professional network. Interim positions often lead to full-time opportunities, as well. So, not only could you find a great summer job working as a temporary employee, but also, a potential path to a new career.

Read the infographic text.


75,000 JOBS ADDED*




  Unemployment RateUnemployment Rate for College Grads**
 June '184.0%2.3%
 July '183.9%2.2%
 August '183.8%2.0%
 September '183.7%2.0%
 October '183.8%2.0%
 November '183.7%2.2%
 December '183.9%2.1%
 January '194.0%2.4%
 February '193.8%2.2%
 March '193.8%2.0%
 April '193.6%2.1%
 May '193.6%2.1%

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


**College-degreed workers 25 and older

See what these results mean for job seekers and employers at roberthalf.com/blog.



35% of senior managers said generating interest from qualified candidates is the most difficult aspect of the hiring process.

Source: Robert Half survey of more than 2,800 senior managers in the U.S.

© 2019 Robert Half. An Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/Disability/Veterans.