Two thirds of May’s employment increase came in intangible producing industries.
Employment grew by a heathy 390,000 in May, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase was better than expected and comes after a significate increase in employment of 436,000 in April. The biggest gains in intangible-producing industries were in Professional and Business Services (up 76,000), Educational & Health Services (up 66,900), and Government (excluding Postal Service) (up 60,800). For tangible-producing industries, the higher level of employment was due primarily to increases in Accommodation & Food Services (up 67,500) and Construction & Mining (up 41,000).
The large difference in employment in tangible-producing industries versus intangible-producing industries is a change from the previous trend. Since the end of the Great Recession, the two parts of the economy have grown (or declined) at pretty much the same rate (see chart below). It remains to be seen if this faster growth in intangible-producing industries will continue (signaling a greater restructuring of the economy) or whether we have reached an equilibrium point.
For more on the categories, see my explanation of the methodology in an earlier posting https://intangibleeconomy.wordpress.com/2020/06/11/which-jobs-got-hit-in-the-covid-crash-tangible-versus-intangible/