US companies added 173,000 workers in May, according to ADP’s estimate. The gain is modestly above April’s increase, although the monthly advances reflect a softer pace of expansion vs. recent history. “Job growth has moderated this spring as energy companies and manufacturers shed jobs,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which co-produces the data. “Retailers are also more circumspect in their hiring. Despite the recent slowdown, job growth remains strong enough to reduce underemployment.”
New filings for jobless claims in the US ticked lower in the final week of May, the Labor Department reports. The slight decline marks the third weekly drop in a row. The decline of 1,000 to 267,000 seasonally adjusted claims is “consistent with a healthy, low level of labor-market separations,” Barclays economist Jesse Hurwitz advised in a note to clients.
US job cuts fell to a five-month low in May, reports Challenger, Gray. The May total was 53% below April’s job cuts and marks the lowest monthly total since last December, the outplacement firm notes.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index increased to a five-week high in the last week of May. The increase in confidence “reinforces a more positive picture of household demand,” according to Bloomberg.
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans says the central bank should consider delaying rate hikes until US inflation moves closer to the 2% inflation target.
Today’s official report on nonfarm payrolls for May could reflect weak growth due to a Verizon strike last month. But “as long as the report is essentially in line with April or better, we think it will support the Fed’s outlook for a 25-basis-point rate hike in June or July,” says Terry Sheehan, a senior analyst at Stone & McCarthy. Briefing.com’s consensus forecast sees today’s update for jobs in May easing to 155,000 for the headline number from 160,000 in the previous month.