Labor Market Update: U.S. Adds 272,000 Jobs in May 2024

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In May 2024, the United States labor market exhibited impressive growth, with the addition of 272,000 jobs. This increase surpasses the average monthly gains seen over the past year, showcasing the ongoing strength and expansion of the labor market.

While the unemployment rate saw a slight rise to 4.0%, this indicates minor shifts within the broader economic landscape.

Is the U.S. Job Market Expanding?

The addition of 272,000 jobs in May highlights a significant upturn in employment compared to the slower growth in April. This resurgence in labor market strength is notable despite the slight increase in the unemployment rate, which had remained stable between 3.7% and 3.9% since August 2023.

U.S. Unemployment Rates by Group:

  • Adult women: 3.4%
  • Adult men: 3.8%
  • Teenagers: 12.3%
  • Whites: 3.5%
  • Blacks: 6.1%
  • Asians: 3.1%
  • Hispanics: 5.0%

Key Employment Statistics for May 2024:

  • The long-term unemployed, accounting for 20.7% of the total unemployed, remained relatively unchanged at 1.4 million.
  • Part-time employment for economic reasons involved approximately 4.4 million individuals, maintaining consistency with previous months.
  • About 5.7 million people were not in the labor force but wanted a job, showing minimal change from previous reporting periods.

Sectors with Notable Job Growth in May:


The healthcare sector continued to lead job growth with 68,000 new jobs added, particularly in ambulatory health care services, hospitals, and nursing and residential care facilities.


Employment rose by 43,000, reflecting steady and robust increases consistent with the growth observed throughout the past year, highlighting the resilience and expansion of the job market.

Leisure and Hospitality

The sector added 42,000 jobs, driven largely by significant contributions from food services and drinking places. This growth underscores the ongoing recovery and expansion within the leisure and hospitality industry.

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

This sector experienced substantial growth, adding 32,000 new jobs, with notable gains in management, scientific, and technical consulting services.

Other Noteworthy Job Trends in May:

Social Assistance

Jobs in this sector increased by 15,000, bolstered predominantly by growth in individual and family services. This surge reflects the rising demand for support within communities, underscoring the essential role these services play in society.

Retail Trade

Continuing its upward trend, the retail trade sector added 13,000 jobs in May, led primarily by gains in building material and garden equipment dealers, highlighting the sector’s steady expansion.

May Wage and Hour Trends:

  • Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 14 cents to $34.91, reflecting a 4.1% increase over the past year.
  • The average workweek for all employees remained steady at 34.3 hours.

The robust job additions in May, along with consistent wage growth, suggest that the U.S. labor market is not only expanding but also adapting to dynamic economic conditions. This continuous growth, highlighted by significant contributions from key sectors, supports a broader economic resilience, even as the market faces new challenges and opportunities.

At Q Consulting, we are dedicated to staying at the forefront of these developments, helping our clients find top talent and place people in the right jobs. Our expertise in navigating the evolving labor landscape ensures that businesses thrive and individuals find fulfilling career opportunities. Let us help you achieve your goals—contact Q Consulting today to learn more about our services and how we can support your success.