Unemployment rate drops to 4.3% in May

Friday's US jobs report for May likely to show steady gains

The unemployment rate decreased slightly from April, ticking down from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Whites edged down to 3.7 percent in May.

"The report suggests tomorrow's jobs report will support a June rate hike", said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in NY.

Employers are now choosing from among a smaller pool of job applicants, and some are having trouble finding people with the skills they need. As more people start seeking jobs, employers begin to have less incentive to raise pay.

Non-farm payrolls increased 138,000 last month as the manufacturing, government and retail sectors lost jobs, the USA labour department said on Friday.

"Some states are already at 3.5 or 3.8 percent [unemployment]". In May, job gains occurred in health care and mining. Workers unemployed for less than 14 weeks fell 356,000, while the number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, rose to 1.7 million and accounted for 24.2% of the unemployed.

Job growth in health care has averaged 22,000 per month thus far in 2017, compared with an average monthly gain of 32,000 in 2016.

The leisure and hospitality industry added 31,000 net new jobs in May, down from 58,000 the previous month. A Reuters survey of banks that do business directly with the Fed, conducted after the employment report, showed all 18 primary dealers polled expected the usa central bank to raise rates this month.

Manufacturing employment fell by 1,000 jobs last month as payrolls in the automobile sector dropped 1,500 amid declining sales.

Job gains in March were revised down to 50,000 from 79,000 while April's figures were also lowered to 174,000 from 211,000.

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Construction added 11,000 jobs in May, with 7,200 of them in heavy and civl engineering, and 5,500 in building construction.

Looking behind the immediate numbers, the picture is mixed at best. Retailers cut 6,100 jobs. Average hourly earnings have risen a middling 2.5 percent over the past year.

The Fed: One big question following Friday's report: Were May's numbers weak enough that the Federal Reserve will delay raising interest rates?

The unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a per centage point to its lowest level since May 2001.

Experts were split on the report. The current expansion has lasted 96 months and is now the third longest since World War Two.

The survey of households from which the unemployment rate is derived also showed a drop in employment.

David Berson, chief economist for Nationwide, was much more negative.

The ADP report is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics and was released ahead of the Labor Department's more comprehensive nonfarm payrolls report on Friday, which includes both public and private-sector employment.

"The labor force participation rate needs to hold steady or go up in order for wages to grow and the economy to surge", said Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, and the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Trump said the deal would have been bad for American workers.

The 138,000 jobs figure failed to meet Wall Street expectations of 185,000.

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