U.S. payrolls and jobless rate both increase

Employment continued to trend upward in the United States in May, but the unemployment rate also edged up to its highest level in more than two years.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 272,000 even as the jobless rate rose a tenth of a percent to 4 percent, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The jobless rate now stands at its highest level since January 2022.

Payroll estimates and the unemployment rate are based on separate surveys of businesses and households.

Initial estimates for job gains over the previous two months were revised downward a total of 15,000 to 165,000 for April and 310,000 in March. With the latest numbers, payrolls have increased an average of 232,000 a month over the past year.

For May, 6.6 million people were counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work. Of those, 1.4 million have been out of work 27 weeks or longer. Another 4.4 million people were counted among those working part-time because their hours were cut or they were unable to find full-time positions.

The labor participation rate — the proportion of population working or looking for work — edged down two-tenths of a percent to 62.5 percent.

Payroll gains for May were spread out among industry sectors. Employment increased 68,000 in health care; 42,000 in leisure and hospitality; and 32,000 in professional, scientific and technical services. Employment increased 15,000 in social assistance and 13,000 in retail trades. Government payrolls grew 43,000.

The average workweek held steady at 34.3 hours. The average manufacturing work week was unchanged at 40.1 hours.

Averagely hourly earnings rose 14 cents to $34.91. Over the past year, hourly earnings increased 4.1 percent.