By now you’ve probably seen that the May jobs report beat expectations, with nonfarm payroll jobs growing by 223,000 (economists had predicted 188,000), average hourly earnings growing at an annualized rate of 2.7 percent, the overall unemployment rate falling to its lowest level since April 2000, and the unemployment rate among blacks falling to its lowest level in history.
“The American economy roared into overdrive last month, delivering the strongest job gains since February,” writes Nelson Schwartz of the New York Times. “The report underscored other recent signs of strength, like robust personal income and spending data reported earlier this week. The unemployment rate for May was at lows not seen since the heady days of the dot-com bubble.”
Schwartz’s Times colleague Neil Irwin is even more buoyant. “The real question in analyzing the May jobs numbers,” Irwin declares, “is whether there are enough synonyms for ‘good’ in an online thesaurus to describe them adequately. So, for example, ‘splendid’ and ‘excellent’ fit the bill. Those are the kinds of terms that are appropriate when the United States economy adds 223,000 jobs in a month, despite being nine years into an expansion, and when the unemployment rate falls to 3.8 percent, a new 18-year low.”
While the report had a few blemishes — for example, the overall labor-force-participation rate ticked down slightly, as did the participation rate among prime-age men — it was indeed overwhelmingly positive.
One milestone that hasn’t received much attention is that, for the first time since August 2008, the share of long-term unemployed is below 20 percent.
To read the entire report, go here.