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The US job market remained tight last month as employers struggled to find people waiting for tables, employees in factories and guarding swimming pools.
The Labor Department said on Friday that US companies added 390,000 jobs in May, as the unemployment rate settled at 3.6%. Job gains for March and April were revised down by a total of 22,000 jobs.
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari theme parks in Santa Claus, Indiana, typically employ about 2,200 seasonal workers for the summer, but so far this year, the parks are 30% short of that total.
We don’t panic,” said Matt Eckert, the parks’ president and CEO. He added that year-round employees help fill in the gaps. “I made my share of pizza. I greased my share of funnel cakes. We jump in and do whatever we have to do to make sure we get the job done.”
Lifeguards and ride operators are especially rare this year, so parks are offering a $1,000 bonus for these jobs.
As the school year ends, Eckert hopes to see more students and teachers applying for summer jobs. For teens, this may be the best job market in over a decade.
Leisure and entertainment companies, including amusement parks, added 16,000 jobs last month.
The demand for labor has also led some employers to hope that older workers who left the workforce early in the pandemic will come out of retirement, especially after The recent decline in the stock market Put a dent in your 401(k) w. The number of workers aged 55 and over rose last month by 181,000.
Tim Fiore, who surveys manufacturing managers every month for Institute of Supply Management, says factories were somewhat successful in filling jobs in May compared to the previous month. But they still suffer from a large turnover rate.
Factories added 18,000 jobs in May.
“There is some improvement but there is a long way to go,” Fury says. “And I think on the staffing side here, it’s going to be slow because there’s not a lot of employment there.”
The workforce grew by 330,000 workers last month, which is not keeping pace with the pace of hiring.
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A hot job market comes at a time of severe inflation
In order to attract scarce labor, employers offer more flexible schedules, better benefits and higher wages. Average hourly earnings in May were 5.2% higher than they were a year ago — a slight moderation from the previous month.
But even those heavy salaries do not keep pace with the rising prices.
The Federal Reserve fears higher wages could be fuel stubbornly high inflation. At 8.3% in May, inflation is already close to its highest level in four decades.
The central bank started aggressively raising interest rates in an attempt to regain control of prices. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by half a percentage point In early May. Two more rate hikes of the same size are expected in June and July.
Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers is skeptical about the Fed’s ability to rein in inflation without causing a recession and accompanying high unemployment.
Summers said this week during an online interview With the Washington Post. “And right now with the labor market tight, I don’t see such a meaningful decline in wage growth.”
The construction industry is usually one of the first to feel the effects of higher interest rates, but this was not evident in the May employment report. Construction firms added 36,000 jobs last month.
Freddy Mac He says the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate this week was 5.09% — down slightly from last week but more than two percentage points higher than this time last year.
Retail trade was one of the weakest spots in the jobs report, with retailers shedding nearly 61,000 jobs in May.