The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows the U.S. economy experienced robust job growth in May, with employers expanding payrolls by 339,000 jobs. That figure outpaces analysts’ expectations of between 180,000 to 190,000 jobs. It also marks the 29th consecutive month of job growth in the United States.

The May jobs report also notes that employers in the U.S. added 93,000 more jobs than previously reported for March and April combined.

Healthcare and professional business services helped fuel job growth in May

As was the case in April, the private education and health services industry led the way in job creation in May with employers adding 74,600 jobs.

The professional and business services industry was also once again a key contributor to U.S. job growth, with employers adding 64,000 positions last month — including 7,700 jobs in temporary help services.

These industries reported significant job gains in May as well:

  • Government: 56,000 jobs added
  • Leisure and hospitality: 48,000 jobs added
  • Construction: 25,000 jobs added
  • Transportation and warehousing: 24,200 jobs added
  • Wholesale trade: 11,600 jobs added
  • Financial activities: 10,000 jobs added

Unemployment rate rises to 3.7%

The BLS reports that the national unemployment rate increased to 3.7% in May, up from 3.4% in April.

The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers who are 25 or older — the professionals most highly sought-after by many employers — also ticked up last month to 2.1%. The rate was 1.9% in April.

U.S. job openings rise, and the quit rate holds steady

Separate research from the BLS shows that 10.3 million jobs in the U.S. were sitting open at the end of April. That’s up from 9.6 million in March.

The BLS also reports that 3.8 million workers voluntarily quit their jobs in April, which is down only slightly from the 3.9 million quits seen in March.

Research from Robert Half finds that many workers are motivated to launch a new job search because they seek better salary and benefits packages and flexible work arrangements. Burnout may also be a factor for many quits, given that four in 10 workers report they are more burned out now than they were a year ago.

Stay informed about the latest hiring trends: Demand for Skilled Talent

Read the latest issue of Robert Half’s Demand for Skilled Talent report to get details on in-demand positions for several industries, including accounting and finance, administrative and customer support, marketing and creative, and legal. Explore local and remote hiring trends in the United States — and get insight into employers’ hiring challenges and plans, workers’ top concerns, and more.

You can view our free report right now on the Robert Half website.

For further analysis of the latest jobs report from the BLS and U.S. employment trends, along with tips for job seekers, watch this video from Robert Half Operational President, Dawn Fay:

Get even more insights from the Robert Half Blog

Whether you’re an employer or job seeker, the Robert Half Blog can help keep you in the know about the latest job market and hiring trends, and much more. Here’s just some of our latest content for:

Job candidates:

  • Finding a Job After Graduation: 5 Tips for Success: Starting your career after college is both exciting and nerve-wracking. In this post, get recommendations for approaching the process with confidence and increasing your chances of getting the job you want.
  • What Not to Say in Your Next Job Interview: When interviewing for a new job, a hiring manager is likely to ask why you want to make a change. See this post for details on three responses to that question you definitely want to avoid.


  • It’s Time to Talk About Time to Hire: Robert Half’s research suggests that lengthy hiring processes can be a major factor in losing top candidates. See this infographic featuring our key findings, along with tips to help you streamline your hiring process.
  • The Value of Experience: Why Retired Workers Make Great Hires: Hiring retirees can be a huge win for your business. Read this post to learn about the many benefits of tapping into this vast pool of highly skilled, experienced and motivated talent.