The American economy added 217,000 jobs in May, according to the initial numbers reported today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Last month's growth was slower than in April, when the economy added 282,000 jobs. April's growth was revised down from the initially-reported 288,000 jobs. But May's growth is still higher than the monthly average of 197,000 jobs added over the last year. It's also roughly on par with what economists were expecting.

On Wednesday, payroll company ADP and Moody's Analytics reported more conservative growth in May (179,000 jobs added).

Following a very strong April (revised up to 34,000 jobs added), the construction industry slowed considerably in May, and added only 6,000 jobs. ADP and Moody's reported that the industry added 14,000 jobs—more than twice than what the BLS reported.


The manufacturing industry added 10,000 jobs in May, the same figure that ADP and Moody's reported. However, the BLS initially reported that manufacturing added 12,000 jobs in April, which the bureau revised down to a modest 4,000 jobs added in today's report.

Architectural and engineering services added 4,500 jobs. May's growth for the industry was slightly higher than the growth in April (nominally revised down to 3,400 jobs added) but lower than in March.

Every sector in construction took a hit, but only nonresidential construction actually lost jobs. The two nonresidential sectors (building construction and specialty trade contractors) lost 500 jobs combined.

Construction of Buildings Heavy and CivilEngineeringConstruction Specialty Trade Construction

 Charts: Maggie Goldstone; Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics