May 2021 Jobs Report: Decent Pace of Growth, But Continued Acceleration Needed
It’s hard to hate this report, but it’s also hard to love it. It’s great to see a pickup in job growth, but it would have been better to see a larger acceleration. Adding over a half million jobs in one month is a solid pace of growth, but we will need to keep up this tempo for quite some time to get back to a semblance of the pre-pandemic labor market.
The leisure and hospitality sector added another healthy amount of jobs, but it was roughly the same number as were added the month before. Any future pickup in job growth for the overall labor market is dependent on this industry seeing more of a bounceback.
It is disappointing that the fall in the labor force participation rate contributed to the decline in the unemployment rate. However, it was good to see a drop in the number of workers on temporary layoffs. Hopefully this is a sign these people got jobs, but that does mean that there are fewer easy wins on the hiring front moving forward.
Adding a half-million jobs in one month would be phenomenal news in a normal labor market. These days, it’s a decent pace of growth. Hopefully, we will see an acceleration in the months ahead. The labor market is not treading water, but it could take some time before we make it back to shore.
Nick Bunker is the Economic Research Director for North America at the Indeed Hiring Lab who focuses on the U.S. labor market. He was previously a Senior Policy Analyst at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, an economics think tank. Prior to that, Nick was a Research Assistant at the Center for American Progress. He holds a B.S.F.S. in international economics from Georgetown University.