- The low U.S. unemployment rate dipped from 3.9% to 3.8% in May, continuing a year-long downward trend. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly employment report showed a gain of 223,000 nonfarm jobs for the month. Job growth occurred across several industries.
- Retail picked up 31,000 jobs, healthcare added 29,000 and construction gained 25,000. Professional and technical services, transportation and warehousing, and manufacturing also experienced growth.
- Among worker groups, unemployment rates decreased for African Americans (5.9%), adult men (3.5%) and Asians (2.1%) in May. The rates of discouraged and underemployed workers remained largely unchanged.
The already tight labor market constricted even further with the unemployment rate dipping slightly for two consecutive months. Finding candidates to fill jobs will remain a major challenge for employers if the unemployment rate continues to slide, as some economists predict — which will only make the existing skills gaps worse. If employers don't find a way to manage the shortage, business growth could be severely impeded by 2030, one Korn Ferry study showed.
"With the continued tightening of the labor market, finding qualified workers has become a top priority for businesses of all sizes and across most sectors," Richard Wahlquist, president and chief executive officer of the American Staffing Association, said in a written statement. "Closing the growing skills gap through the training, retraining, and upskilling of the American workforce is the new business imperative."
Employers will need to invest in retooling their workers to close the skills gap. To meet that goal, some have teamed up with community initiatives or government agencies to find and train people in a timely manner — essentially forming partnerships to create talent pipelines. The upfront investment could mean long-term gains for employers and a workforce better prepared to fill available jobs.