June 5, 2000 (The Editor’s Desk is updated each business day.)

Drop in private-sector employment in May

Boosted by the hiring of 357,000 temporary workers to assist with Census 2000, total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 231,000 in May. However, private-sector payroll employment declined by 116,000 over the month, following large increases in March and April.

Change in payroll employment by sector, May 2000
[Chart data—TXT]

Since the beginning of the year, private nonfarm employment growth has averaged 182,000 a month, slightly below the average for all of 1999 (202,000). In May, job losses occurred throughout much of the private sector, including construction, manufacturing, and retail trade.

Government employment rose by 347,000 in May. The federal government hired 357,000 temporary workers for Census 2000, but employment declines continued in other federal agencies. State and local governments showed little change.

These data are a product of the BLS Current Employment Statistics Program. Find out more in "The Employment Situation: May 2000," news release USDL 00-163.

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