Payroll employment in May 2008

June 10, 2008

Total nonfarm payroll employment continued to trend down in May 2008 (-49,000). Thus far in 2008, payroll employment has declined by 324,000.

Over-the-month change in payroll employment, May 2007-May 2008
[Chart data—TXT]

In May, job losses continued in construction, manufacturing, retail trade, and temporary help services. Health care again added jobs over the month.

Employment in construction fell by 34,000 in May. Since an employment peak in September 2006, construction has lost 475,000 jobs.

Manufacturing employment continued to fall over the month (-26,000), with job losses in wood products, computer and electronic products, and nonmetallic mineral products. Thus far in 2008, monthly job losses in manufacturing have averaged 41,000 compared with 22,000 a month in 2007 and 14,000 a month in 2006.

Retail trade employment decreased by 27,000 in May. Since March 2007, retail trade has shed 184,000 jobs.

Over the month, employment in temporary help services continued to decline (-30,000) and has fallen by 193,000 since its most recent peak in December 2006.

Employment continued to rise throughout health care in May (34,000). Job growth over the last 12 months has totaled 383,000.

These data are from the BLS Current Employment Statistics program, and are seasonally adjusted. Data for the most recent two months are preliminary. More information can be found in "The Employment Situation: May 2008," (HTML) (PDF) news release USDL 08-0757.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Payroll employment in May 2008 on the Internet at (visited September 27, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.