Employment Update

May 2024

The American employment landscape is constantly changing. Keep up-to-date with the most recent trends with our monthly Employment Update. All figures are provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the America Staffing Association.

  • Acara Icon Workforce

    Unemployment rate changed little - 4.0%

    Both the unemployment rate, at 4.0 percent, and the number of unemployed people, at 6.6 million, changed little in May. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 3.7 percent, and the number of unemployed people was 6.1 million.

  • Acara Icon briefcase

    Long-term unemployed was little changed

    The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.4 million, changed little in May. The long-term unemployed accounted for 20.7 percent of all unemployed people.

  • Acara Icon Workforce

    Labor force participation little changed

    Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.5 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.1 percent, were little changed in May. These measures showed little change over the year.

  • Acara Icon earnings

    Average hourly earnings rose by $0.14

    Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 14 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $34.91. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.1 percent. In May, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 14 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $29.99.

  • Acara Icon Rejected

    Number of people working part time for economics reasons changed little

    The number of people employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.4 million, changed little in May. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

  • Icon showing outlines of a home, dollar sign, and a plant

    People not in the labor force who currently want a job little changed

    The number of people not in the labor force who currently want a job, at 5.7 million, was little changed. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.

  • Acara Icon temp

    Temp penetration rate at 1.72%

    Temporary help employment was 1.72% of total nonfarm employment in May.

  • Acara Icon people circles

    Temp help jobs decreased​

    Temporary help jobs in May decreased -6.5%, seasonally adjusted, from the same month last year.

  • Acara Icon payroll

    Nonfarm payroll employment up​

    Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 272,000 in May, higher than the average monthly gain of 232,000 over the prior 12 months.

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Industry Trends

Acara summarizes the latest industry trends each month to keep you informed as you make decisions about the future of your business.

  • Managing talent, optimizing compensation, healthcare, benefits, and retirement planning—Just a few of the things HR leaders need to prepare for when it comes to leverage AI effectively.

    • Consider both how to deploy AI for yourself and how to prepare the workforce.
    • AI can help identify ways to lower benefits costs and increase employee engagement with total rewards offerings.
    • There are workforce opportunities and risks associated with AI, and HR will play a key role in ensuring its responsible deployment.
  • Four out of five say their employers don’t have guidelines for using AI, and barely half welcome the arrival of AI in their organization (Axios).

    60% shared that their HR teams are not yet using AI or generative AI for any functions, including talent sourcing, interviewing, onboarding, learning, and managing employee leave—but they appear to be exploring its use. (HR Executive)
    52% of HR leaders stated they were exploring potential use cases and opportunities when it comes to generative AI. (Gartner)
    People oppose the use of AI in making final hiring decisions by a 71% to 7% margin. (Pew Research)
    61% of employees hope AI delivers a “transformation” in their organization, compared to 32% who prefer AI to stick close to the status quo. (Workday)

  • Industry Trends – Wellbeing

    As we enter 2024, companies globally are acknowledging the significant influence of workplace wellness on their overall performance. A vibrant and committed workforce is not merely an indulgence or an optional extra; it's a strategic imperative for enhancing productivity, encouraging innovation, and retaining top-tier talent.

  • In light of this heightened recognition, workplace wellness initiatives have become fundamental in establishing a flourishing and enduring work culture.

    At the companies on the 2024 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® List, 84% of employees say management shows a sincere interest in them as a person. In our 2023 market study, only 58% said the same at an average workplace.

  • In the Johns Hopkins study, 25% said they feel lonely at work and 30% said they do not feel a sense of belonging.

    Experts say that stressed workers are costing employers billions of dollars each week.

    With turnover rates hiking up to 60%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s no better time to adopt proactive strategies that improve employee retention.

  • Invest in a work culture that supports the mental health of their employees, as that will enable them to reduce the constant churn of staff and bypass the staggering cost of recruiting new talent.

    • Focus on the people aspect of your organization in 2024 and lower your turnover rate.
    • Introduce a 4-day work week, hybrid work schedule, or allow employees to work fully remote, and drive high levels of employee engagement, productivity, and well-being.
    • Implement wellness programs, including workshops, fitness classes, meditation sessions, or access to counseling services, and help employees develop healthy habits and manage stress.

View the Monthly Canada Employment Update

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