June 10, 2002
Total nonfarm payroll employment, at 130.7 million, was little changed in May for the third consecutive month. From the start of the recession in March 2001 through February 2002, job losses had averaged 160,000 a month.
Employment in the services industry rose by 68,000 in May, following gains of similar magnitude in the prior 2 months. In retail trade, job losses in eating and drinking places and department stores were partly offset by small employment gains in other retail industries over the month.
Employment was unchanged in transportation and public utilities, following job losses totaling 347,000 from the industry's last employment peak in February 2001. In government, employment in local education increased by 26,000 in May; this was partly offset by declines in the noneducation component of state government.
In the goods-producing sector, employment in manufacturing edged down by 19,000 in May; factory job losses have moderated substantially since the beginning of the year.
Employment in construction was about unchanged in May, as seasonal hiring just met expectations. Employment in mining edged down by 3,000 in May.
Payroll employment data are products of the Current Employment Statistics program. Data for April and May 2002 are preliminary and subject to revision. Data in this article are seasonally adjusted. For more information, see The Employment Situation: May 2002, news release USDL. 02-332. The establishment data in this release have been revised as a result of the annual benchmarking process; the introduction of probability-based sample estimates for transportation and public utilities, retail trade, and finance, insurance, and real estate; and the updating of seasonal adjustment factors.