U.S. employers expanded payrolls by 390,000 jobs last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These gains outpace economists’ expectations of 328,000 positions.

The latest jobs report also notes that new job creation in March and April was lower than previously reported — by 22,000 positions. With these adjustments, the U.S. economy has seen employment rise by just over 2 million jobs since the start of 2022.

Employers in professional and business services help drive job growth in May

The leisure and hospitality industry once again led the way in job creation, adding 84,000 jobs last month. The professional and businesses services sector also saw robust payroll expansion in May, with employers adding 75,000 jobs. Of those roles, 19,300 were in temporary help services.

Education and health services also saw healthy gains last month, adding 74,000 positions.

The following are other industries that saw notable job growth in May, according to the BLS:

  • Government: 57,000 jobs added
  • Transportation and warehousing: 47,000 jobs added
  • Construction: 36,000 jobs added
  • Manufacturing: 18,000 jobs added
  • Information: 16,000 jobs added
  • Wholesale trade: 14,100 jobs added

One industry saw significant job losses last month: retail trade. Employment declined in the industry by 60,700 jobs. However, the BLS also notes that employment in retail trade is 159,000 above its February 2020 level, which was just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

National unemployment rate sits at a 54-year low

The unemployment rate in May was 3.6%, unchanged since March 2022. This rate is a 54-year low.

The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers who are 25 or older also held steady at 2.0%. This rate is also unchanged since March. These workers are in highest demand by employers.

Other BLS data shows the number of job openings in the United States on the last business day of April was 11.4 million. The BLS also reports 4.4 million workers quit their jobs voluntarily in April.

Number of employed persons working remotely declines to 7.4%

According to the BLS, 7.4% of employed persons teleworked in May due to the COVID-19 pandemic, down from 7.7% in April. 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.

Number of people unable to work due to pandemic rise slightly to 1.8 million

Household survey supplemental data from the BLS also finds that the number of people unable to work at all, or who worked fewer hours at some point in the four weeks preceding the latest survey due to the pandemic, was 1.8 million. In April, that figure was 1.7 million.

Learn more about current hiring trends

The Demand for Skilled Talent report from Robert Half provides up-to-date data on U.S. hiring trends and top positions for several industries at a glance. Our latest issue includes insight on the “push and pull” between employers and employees on flexible work arrangements, the perks and benefits that today’s job seekers want most, and which industries are experiencing talent shortages.

Access the full report for free on the Robert Half website.