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Payroll employment in May 2009

June 08, 2009

Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 345,000 in May to 132.2 million. The decline was about half of the average monthly job loss for the prior 6 months. Since the recession began in December 2007, payroll employment has fallen by 6.0 million.

Over-the-month change in payroll employment, December 2007-May 2009
[Chart data—TXT]

In May, job losses continued to be widespread across major industry sectors. Steep job losses continued in manufacturing, while the rate of decline moderated in several industries, including construction, professional and business services, and retail trade.

Manufacturing employment fell by 156,000 in May. Since its most recent peak in February 2000, employment in motor vehicles and parts has fallen by about 50 percent.

Employment in construction decreased by 59,000 in May, compared with an average monthly job loss of 117,000 in the industry for the previous 6 months.

Job losses in professional and business services moderated in May, with the industry shedding 51,000 jobs. This compares with an average loss of 136,000 jobs per month in the prior 6 months. The temporary help services industry, which had been dropping an average of 73,000 jobs per month over this period, saw little employment change in May.

Retail trade employment was down by 18,000 in May; job cutbacks in retail trade have moderated markedly in the past 2 months.

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 2009" (PDF) (HTML), news release USDL 09-0588.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Payroll employment in May 2009 at (visited May 29, 2024).

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