Restaurants and hotels continued their streak of adding the most jobs out of any industry in May

A waiter pours champagne for customers in New York City.
A waiter without a mask pours champagne for customers during the “Eggs and Leggs Drag Brunch” at Da Capo on the Upper West Side on May 22, 2021 in New York City.

  • The US added 559,000 jobs in May, a bounce back from the disappointing 278,000 added in April.
  • As in April, leisure and hospitality had the largest number of jobs added among industry sectors.
  • On the other end, construction employment dropped by 20,000.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

More US jobs were added in May than in April, and most of the gains once again fell in the leisure and hospitality industry.

The US added 559,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in May, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, below economists’ median estimate of 674,000, per Insider’s Ben Winck.

Leisure and hospitality saw another strong month of job gains. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that most of these gains were from food services and drinking places. That includes places like restaurants and bars.

Most industries saw some increase in their employment over the month, but some industries saw larger gains than others. The following chart shows where the job gains, and losses, were from April 2021 to May 2021:

Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 292,000 in May after increasing by 328,000 in April, totaling four consecutive months of six-figure job gains.

“The leisure and hospitality sector added another healthy amount of jobs, but it was roughly the same number as were added the month before,” Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed, wrote in a statement. “Any future pickup in job growth for the overall labor market is dependent on this industry seeing more of a bounceback.”

Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, wrote on Twitter that the industry is still below pre-pandemic employment by about 2.5 million. She added she’s “optimistic that we will continue to see solid growth in coming months as vaccine distribution continues and businesses find it safe to reopen.”

The second-largest gain was in the education and health services sector at 87,000, which was higher than the 25,000 job gains this industry had in April. Most of the government jobs added in May were from local and state education jobs. State government education added 50,000 jobs and local government education added 53,000 jobs.

“Growth in ambulatory health care services accounted for essentially all of the employment change in health care,” BLS wrote in an analysis.

Four sectors saw job losses in May, including retail trade which lost 5,800 jobs and construction which lost 20,000 jobs in a single month. At almost 15.2 million jobs, retail trade is still 2.6% below pre-pandemic employment, while at about 7.4 million jobs, construction is still 2.9% below February 2020 employment. Additionally, employment in mining and logging did not change from April.

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