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As Economy Continues to Reopen, Job Growth Advances at Greatest Pace in Nearly a Year

Job growth advanced at its greatest pace in nearly a year as the United States economy continued to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s according to the monthly ADP National Employment Report, which showed that total nonfarm private employment rose by 978,000 jobs in May. It was a sizable boost from the 654,000 recorded in April and the biggest jump since employers added 4.35 million jobs last year in June at a time when the country ushered in its first wave of reopenings. Economists had anticipated just 680,000 new roles last month.

Chart 1. Change in Total Nonfarm Private Employment
CREDIT: Courtesy of ADP

“Private payrolls showed a marked improvement from recent months and the strongest gain since the early days of the recovery,” ADP chief economist Nela Richardson said in a statement. “While goods producers grew at a steady pace, it is service providers that accounted for the lion’s share of the gains, far outpacing the monthly average in the last six months.”

In the service-providing sector, which represented 850,000 jobs, leisure and hospitality unsurprisingly notched the largest increase at 440,000. The industry’s workforce has seen a rebound in recent months as government-mandated lockdowns continue to be lifted due to a rapid vaccine rollout and decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

In addition, education and health services grew by 139,000 — most of them from health care — while trade, transportation and utilities climbed by 118,000, plus professional and business services improved 68,000.

As for goods producers, which made up 128,000 jobs, construction and manufacturing logged upswings of 65,000 and 52,000. Natural resources and mining saw 11,000 new employees.

What’s more, companies of all sizes recorded an uptick in the number of added jobs, which Richardson suggested reflects “the improving nature of the pandemic and economy.” The report found that small and medium-sized businesses gained a respective 333,000 and 338,000 employees, while large businesses expanded by 308,000.

The private payroll count precedes the release of the Department of Labor’s monthly jobs report, which will hit the wires tomorrow morning. For the month of May, employers are expected to have added 671,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate is projected to be at 5.9%.

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