May employment

May’s employment numbers came out this morning. BLS reported the unemployment rate dropped to 5.1%, but non-farm payroll employment increased by only 78,000, well below expectations.
Bottom line: Managers and professions continue to have the lowest unemployment rates and construction and farm workers the highest. However, unemployment rates for the blue collar occupations (construction, farm, production, transport) have declined. May was a bad month for managers, but ok for professionals, service, and construction. Sales jobs declined compared to April, but are up significantly over May 2004.
Interestingly, the unemployment rate for production workers declined while manufacturing lost 7,000 jobs. The reason is that manufacturing companies actually added production workers while getting rid of other jobs.
Managerial, professional, office and installation/repair occupations (what we might consider the upper, middle and blue-collar “information” economy positions) increased over 661,000 from May 2004 to May 2005. But declined slightly as a percentage of the total work force to 52%.
Here is the breakdown by occupation (note – these are not seasonally adjusted, so both monthly change and the change from the same month last year are given as the monthly change may be seasonally related):
Management, business, and financial operations occupations:
continues to have a below average unemployment rate (2.3%); up from April but down from 3% in May 2004. Employment down (206,000) from last month and down (137,00) from same month last year (May 2004); total number of people in this occupation (working or looking for a job) down by 183,000 from last month and down 280,000 from same month last year (May 2004).
Professional and related occupations:
below average unemployment rate (2.4%); up from April but down from 2.6% in May 2004. Employment up significantly (323,000) from last month and up significantly (776,000) from same month last year (May 2004); total number of people in this occupation (working or looking for a job) up significantly by 388,000 from last month and up significantly 730,000 from same month last year (May 2004).
Service occupations:
above average unemployment rate (6.5%); down from April but up from 6% in May 2004. Employment up (447,000) from last month and up (216,000) from same month last year (May 2004); total number of people in this occupation (working or looking for a job) up significantly by 529,000 from last month and up 357,000 from same month last year (May 2004).
Sales and related occupations:
average unemployment rate (5.1%); up slightly from April and up slightly from 5.1% in May 2004. Employment down (111,000) from last month but up significantly 870,000 from same month last year (May 2004); total number of people in this occupation (working or looking for a job) down by 110,000 from last month and up significantly 921,000 from same month last year (May 2004).
Office and administrative support occupations:
average unemployment rate (4.8%); up from April but down from 5% in May 2004. Employment up (25,000) from last month but down by 157,000 from same month last year (May 2004); total number of people in this occupation (working or looking for a job) up by 68,000 from last month but down 202,000 from same month last year (May 2004).
Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations:
slightly above average unemployment rate (6.4 %); down significantly from April and down significantly from 8.6% in May 2004. Employment up (24,000) from last month but down by 53,000) from same month last year (May 2004); total number of people in this occupation (working or looking for a job) the same as last month but down by 82,000 from same month last year (May 2004).
Construction and extraction occupations:
slightly above average unemployment rate (6.3%); down from April and down from 7.8% in May 2004. Employment up (234,000) from last month and up significantly by 876,000) from same month last year (May 2004); total number of people in this occupation (working or looking for a job) up by 164,000 from last month and up significantly by 791,000 from same month last year (May 2004).
Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations:
below average unemployment rate (3.4 %); down from April and down from 4% in May 2004. Employment down by 18,000 from last month but up by 179,000 from same month last year (May 2004); total number of people in this occupation (working or looking for a job) down by 69,000 from last month but up 152,000 from same month last year (May 2004).
Production occupations:
slightly above average unemployment rate (5.7 %); down from April and down from 6.9% in May 2004. Employment the same as last month and up (194,000) from same month last year (May 2004); total number of people in this occupation (working or looking for a job) down by 51,000 from last month but up by 83,000 from same month last year (May 2004).
Transportation and material moving occupations:
average unemployment rate (5.2 %); down from April and down from 7.2% in May 2004. Employment down by 65,000 from last month and down (41,000) from same month last year (May 2004); total number of people in this occupation (working or looking for a job) down by 155,000 from last month and down by 230,000 from same month last year (May 2004).

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