The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the Employment Situation report for May. Total nonfarm payrolls increased by 69 thousand in May with private payrolls adding 82 thousand and government taking away 13 thousand. The March and April estimates were revised downward by 49 thousand for those months, and the unemployment rate ticked up a tenth to 8.2 percent, based on a surge of 642 thousand in the labor force.
The recent weakness has drawn comparisons to the last two years when early strength gave way to mid-year deterioration. In 2010 the initial threat of a Greek default rattled global markets and began the now long simmering Euro zone crisis. In 2011 the Arab spring oil price spike and Japanese tsunami and nuclear accident disrupted economic activity and trade. Now, with another slowdown in US economic growth, limited room for additional monetary stimulus and even lower prospects for fiscal stimulus, recessions and deepening turmoil in the Euro zone, and slowing global economic growth, maybe there is no smoking gun explanation for the weakening labor market, just a hail of bullets.
Blaming the weather is just getting harder to do.