Manufacturing employment rebounded somewhat, rising by 23,000 in May after falling by a downwardly revised 32,000 in April. There remained 509,000 fewer manufacturing employees relative to pre-pandemic levels, with 12,290,000 employees in May. Despite job growth for the month, businesses continue to cite difficulties in finding enough talent. There is optimism for continued growth moving forward, with job openings continue to soar (see graph).

The average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers in manufacturing rose to $23.52 in May, with a 3.3% increase year-over-year but jumping 4.5% since February 2020.

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 559,000 workers in May, essentially doubling the increase of 278,000 in April, but the consensus was for a gain of roughly 700,000. The U.S. economy continues to have 7,629,000 fewer workers today than in February 2020. The unemployment rate declined from 6.1% in April to 5.8% in May, a 14-month low.