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U.S. Adds 390,000 Jobs in May, Unemployment Rate Stays at 3.6%

The U.S. economy added 390,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate remained unchanged from April at 3.6%, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.

This number represents little change from April, which saw an increase of a newly revised figure of 398,000 jobs, recently adjusted by 30,000 from the originally reported 428,000.

Notable job gains continued in leisure and hospitality, warehousing and in transportation and professional and business services. Employment in retail trade declined by 61,000 jobs in May but is still 159,000 jobs above the level in February 2020. Job losses were seen across general merchandise stores, clothing and clothing accessories stores, and food and beverage stores, building material and garden supply stores, and health and personal care stores.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6%, with about 6 million people unemployed.

The May job gains come as people continue to quit their jobs in droves, exacerbating labor shortages across retail and other industries. In April, about 4.4 million people quit their jobs at a rate of 2.9%, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some retailers have introduced increased pay, benefits and sign-on bonuses and have held hiring events to attract and retain enough workers to meet consumer demand.

Overall, average hourly earnings rose by 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $31.95 in May. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 5.2%. Meanwhile, inflation continues to soar at record high levels.

Consumer prices rose by 8.3% in April compared to a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report. This number was down from the 8.5% growth in March, which represented the highest inflation rate since the 12-month period ending in December 1981, but was up from the 7.9% in February.

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