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June 2024 Market Trends Report

Employers added 272,000 jobs in May, surging up from 175,000 jobs added in April and bursting past economists’ expectations from last month. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also reported that hourly earnings grew by 0.4% (above the forecasted 0.3%).

Some economists believe that May’s robust job growth signals sustained economic health. However, others anticipate this surge is headed for a slowdown in the coming months.

The unemployment rate also rose slightly, breaking its 27-month streak below 4%. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects this rate will continue to rise to 4.4% into Q4, echoing the expected downturn in economic growth and slowing demand for workers.

Jobs Market Overview: May 2024


Overall unemployment rate

The unemployment rate rose slightly, breaking its 2+ year streak below 4%.


Jobs added

The “blowout” report from the Employment Situation Summary surged past economists’ job growth forecast of 182,000.


Labor force participation rate

Labor force participation decreased slightly from April.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics' Employment Situation Summary 

Industry Employment Trends




Monthly job change

(-1.7% YoY Difference)

Industry Monthly Job Change YoY Difference
Manufacturing 8k +0.2%
Automotive 3.1k +2.9%
Warehousing & Storage -1.2k 1.8%
Architectural & Engineering 9.9k +2.5%
Construction +21k +3.1%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics' Economic News Release

Sector by Sector News: May 2024

Manufacturing Jobs Report

May Manufacturing PMI: 48.7%*

The May Manufacturing PMI contracted for the 18th time in the last 19 months, losing 0.5 points from April.

Despite the BLS’ reported increase in employee earnings (by 0.4%) and a reported increase in retail sales, manufacturing demand has slowed, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Slowing is reflected by contraction in May in the New Orders Index and Backlog of Orders Index.

The resiliency of consumer spending was countered by refrained demand from companies that are wary to spend, according to ISM Manufacturing Business Committee Chair Timothy Fiore. Fiore stated: “Demand remains elusive as companies demonstrate an unwillingness to invest due to current monetary policy.”

The ISM also noted that production and employment continued to expand (as detailed in the BLS’ May manufacturing jobs report), and shortages are less severe.

*A PMI reading below 50% suggests economic activity is contracting.

According to ISM:

Manufacturing industries in growth in May:

  • Chemical products
  • Fabricated metal products
  • Paper products
  • Petroleum & coal products
  • Primary metals
  • Printing & related support activities
  • Textile mills

Manufacturing industries in contraction in May:

  • Computer & electronic products
  • Food, Beverage & Tobacco products
  • Furniture & related products
  • Machinery
  • Plastics & rubber products
  • Transportation equipment
  • Wood products

Construction Jobs Report

All construction segments have a share in May’s booming jobs report, with year-over-year employment growth spread across both nonresidential (3.8%) and residential (2.2%).

According to the BLS Job Opening andLabor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) report, which runs a month behind the Employment Situation Summary, nonresidential construction employers added 21,000 jobs in May (with specialty trade contributing to 13,000 of those positions). And residential construction employers added 3,500 jobs.

Some point to continued investments in public infrastructure projects as the nexus of growth in the construction jobs report.

However, Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu stated in response to the BLS’ May construction jobs report: “This report indicates job growth among many industry segments. The rapid transformation of the U.S. economy continues to more than offset the negative impacts of elevated project financing costs” (i.e., high borrowing costs).

Warehousing & Storage Jobs Report 

May Logistics Manager’s Index (LMI): 55.6*

Positive movement in the transportation market and for warehousing utilization helped the LMI report expansion in May. It was the sixth month in a row that the LMI reported expansion, which is any score about 50.

As employment for the warehousing and storage sector grew in May, the BLS also reported positive momentum from March to April in its JOLTS Report. Transportation, warehousing and utilities job openings and hires are on the rise.

According to the LMI, the industry is not quite surging. But when asked to predict movement in the overall LMI and individual metrics 12 months from now, respondents to the LMI were optimistic. They said they expect substantial growth in scores for inventory levels (65.5), and in turn growth rates in the 70s for inventory costs, warehousing utilization, warehousing prices and transportation prices.

“The logistics industry has been struggling for a full two years, and it is reasonable for folks to hope it gets back to growth soon,” the LMI said. “It is also important to keep where we were, and where we are now, in perspective. The logistics industry was in a deep hole after the twin shocks of COVID and the invasion of Ukraine and it was always going to take some time to dig our way out. Fortunately … there may be a light at the end of the tunnel sooner rather than later.”

*A LMI above 50 indicates that logistics metrics are expanding.

According to LMI:

Growth is increasing at an increasing rate for:

  • Transportation prices
  • Transportation utilization
  • Warehousing capacity
  • Warehousing prices
  • Warehousing utilization
 Growth is increasing at a decreasing rate for:
  • Transportation capacity
  • Inventory costs

Growth is contracting for:

  • Inventory levels

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