Temporary Help Workers, Overtime Hours, Manufacturing Employment Increase in May
It's not all bad, here are some highlights from today's BLS employment report:
1) The number of temporary help workers increased by 31,000 in May to 2,086,000 employees (not counting temporary Census workers), the highest level in 18 months ago, since November 2008 (see graph above). The number of temporary workers increased in May for the 8th straight month, following 23 straight months of declines, and it marks the first time since 1999 of eight consecutive monthly increases. The 361,600 increase in temporary jobs since last October is the largest 8-month increase since this data series started in 1990.
2) Average manufacturing overtime hours increased to 4.1 hours in May (from 3.9 hours in April), reaching the highest level since 4.2 hours in November 2007, thirty months ago (see graph). Manufacturing overtime hours have increased or stayed the same in 13 out of the last 14 months, and overtime activity in the manufacturing sector has now returned to its pre-recession levels of 2007, reflecting continued expansion in U.S. factory output.
3) Along with the increase in manufacturing overtime to pre-recession levels, the increase of 29,000 in manufacturing jobs in May is another sign that the manufacturing sector is expanding and continuing on a healthy path to recovery. Year-to-date, manufacturing employment has increased by 126,000 jobs, which is the first record of 5 consecutive monthly gains in factory jobs since 2006, and the largest 5-month increase in manufacturing employment since early 1998 - more than 12 years ago.