223,000 Jobs Added In May, Unemployment Falls To 3.8 Percent

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

The Department of Labor reported Friday 223,000 jobs were added in the month of May, and unemployment dropped to 3.8 percent.

Jobs growth outpaced economists’ predictions, who estimated the number would fall just short of 200,000. Experts were also expecting the unemployment rate to stay steady from month to month at 3.9 percent. (RELATED: ‘Amazing’: Unemployment Hits Lowest Rate In 18 Years)

May’s unemployment rate matches the April 2000 rate as the lowest rate in the U.S. since 1969. The falls rate signals a tightening labor market as employers are forced to compete more for employees. The competition should translate to rising wages for workers, though that has not happened to the extent economists expect.

“This is the last shoe to drop in the labor market,” Deutsche Bank chief international economist Torsten Slok told The New York Times. “It’s just a matter of time before wages start going up more strongly, but there’s frustration that it hasn’t happened yet, even though unemployment is the lowest it has been in almost 18 years.”

Hourly wages lifted by eight cents last month, bringing the average to $26.92. Revisions to past jobs reports resulted in a 15,000 job net gain. Jobs numbers for April and March were changed to 159,000 jobs and 155,000, respectively. So far in 2018, an average of 207,000 new jobs have been added every month.

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