Robust employment                   


By Isaac Cohen*

The US Labor market, once again, has defied the central bank’s restrictive monetary policy. Last week, the Labor Department informed 272,000 new, non-agricultural jobs were created in May, more than 175,00 created in April and over the monthly average of 247,000 of this year’s first quarter. Even so, in May the unemployment rate continued creeping upwards reaching 4 percent, the highest in the last two years, from 3.8 percent in March and 3.9 percent in April. Additionally, wages increased 4.1 percent from the previous year, above the rate of inflation.

By sectors, job creation was concentrated in healthcare (83,500), government (43,000), leisure and hospitality (41,200), and professional and business services (33,000). Together these sectors contributed more than two thirds of the job creation registered in May. To this robust performance of the labor market contributed decisively the addition to the labor force of immigrants who were granted temporary protected status, including work permits. Among them, for example, last year 715,000 immigrants from Venezuela were granted temporary status.

The question is how the central bank authorities will consider this robust performance, when they meet today and tomorrow in Washington. The answer will be known tomorrow in the afternoon.

*International analyst and consultant, former Director ECLAC Washington. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO and other media.

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