The U.S. Department of Labor released new jobs numbers on Friday that revealed a spike in temporary employment in May, and a lag in private sector hiring. The government reported 431,000 jobs entered the market last month, but just 41,000 of them were in the private sector. New census jobs--411,000 of them--accounted for the bulk of May's temporary job growth.
Last month's job growth rate was the year's slowest, and led to fewer people looking for work. Fifteen million Americans, or 9.7 percent, sought jobs in May, and nearly half that number have been looking for jobs for more than six months.
The jobs report fell short of economists' expectations, especially in the private sector, and drove U.S. stock markets down more than 1 percent in this morning's trading.
“There is no sugar coating this report, as it was disappointing,” said Joel Naroff, a chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors. “The private sector has not become a jobs producing machine.”
Many analysts are even more worried about this month's jobs numbers since the federal government is expected to taper off its hiring of census workers in June.
The labor department had some good news on Friday. In addition to the increased number of temporary workers in the workforce--31,000 more than reported in April--the average work week increased to 34.2 hours and pay rates rose 0.3 percent. Economists say that means employees are working more, and that there there will likely be more hiring down the road.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its next jobs report on July 2.