The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Jobs Growth Continues for Construction, Manufacturing

Expansion to continue in 2015, though slowing is expected.

Jobs growth in the U.S. over the last 12 months has been solid, averaging 251,000 additional nonfarm jobs each month, according to the latest release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The robust growth is expected to continue through 2015, though analysts and economists expect the pace to slow somewhat.

Construction gained 17,000 jobs in May, while manufacturing added 7,000. Mining, however, continued to struggle, reporting fewer jobs for the fifth straight month.

"In an otherwise disappointing spring, in terms of macroeconomic data, the employment numbers in April and May are suggesting that there is no slowdown in job growth," according to a release from The Conference Board. "The solid employment growth, despite weak GDP growth, suggests that labor productivity is likely to continue to be slow to nonexistent in the second quarter."

The Conference Board's Employment Trends Index increased to 128.60 in May, up from 128.10 in April. For the past six months, the ETI has grown as a 3.5 percent annual rate. The Conference Board expects employment growth of about 200,000 jobs per month going forward, a rate "sufficient to continue rapidly lowering the unemployment rate," said Gad Levanon, managing director of macroeconomic and labor market research at The Conference Board.

The National Association of Business Economists also expects continued improvement in employment, albeit at a slower pace than seen in the past year. In its latest survey, the median forecast for nonfarm payroll growth in 2015 declined to 217,000 in June from 251,000 in March, while the median forecast for 2016 slipped to 207,000 from 216,000 in March.

While the rate of employment growth varies by sector, the recently released Economic Benchmarks for Wholesale Distribution shows that in 2014, employment increased in 16 of the 19 distribution sectors covered. And with revenue growth forecast for all 19 sectors in 2016, signs point to continued employment growth, as well, particularly for automotive- and construction-related sectors. Learn more about the Economic Benchmarks for Wholesale Distribution here.

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