Job Market Recovery Notable in Some Sectors



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The American economy added more than a half million jobs last month as the recovery from the pandemic rolls along.  And according to the U.S. Labor Department, the bounce in employment was concentrated in several sectors.

The Labor Department reports 559,000 jobs were added in May, almost double what was added in April.  Bars, restaurants and hotels re-hired large numbers of laid-off workers, accounting for a big part of the growth.

Employers hired nearly 300,000 workers in the leisure and hospitality sector in May to lead the way.  Restaurant and bar employment grew by 186,000, arts/entertainment/recreation employment jumped by 72,000, the amusement/gambling sector added 58,000 positions, while hotels added more than 34,000 positions. 

This growth suggests a return to normalcy with more vaccinations and an easing of pandemic restrictions, leading more Americans to travel, recreation, and dining out. 

Other hot job sectors were education services (41,000), professional and business services (35,000), transportation and warehousing (23,000), social assistance (23,000), health care services (22,500), administrative and support (18,000), and accounting/bookkeeping (14,000).  New government hires at the local, state and federal level accounted for an additional 67,000 hires.

Despite a boom in some construction sectors like residential, the industry actually lost 20,000 jobs in May.  And retail employment fell by nearly 6,000 workers.