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May jobs report is 'encouraging' but there's 'still a ways to go': US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·2 min read

U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh is giving a thumbs up to the May jobs report, but acknowledges it will take some time for the labor market to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"There is no question there is still a ways to go in still dealing with the pandemic from all of the job loss at the beginning of the pandemic," Walsh said on Yahoo Finance Live

The Labor Department reported Friday that non-farm payrolls increased by 559,000, falling shy of Wall Street's estimates for a rise of 675,000. The result came up short compared to higher economist estimates on the Street that ranged from an increase of 800,000 up to 1 million. 

May's increase followed a gain of 278,000 jobs in April, which was upwardly revised slightly from the 266,000 previously reported. The unemployment rate ticked down to 5.8% from 6.1% in April, missing the Bloomberg consensus of 5.9%. 

Meanwhile, average hourly earnings accelerated to a 0.5% month-on-month clip and 2% year-over-year increase.

But to Walsh's point, the U.S. labor market recovery remains a work in progress. 

The economy shed a startling 22.4 million jobs last year in March and April but has only since added back 14.8 million, points out Bleakley Advisory Group Chief Investment Officer Peter Boockvar. 

Strategists say the jobs market is poised to kick into high gear this summer as pandemic-era unemployment insurance benefits start expiring in June. That will go a long way in companies addressing the labor shortage they continue to deal with amid a sharp rebound in demand. 

"It is becoming crystal clear that the main problem with the labor market right now is the supply side and we’re seeing higher wages in response to encourage people back. We’ll see later this month what impact on hiring we’ll see in those states that are nixing the enhanced benefits and we’ll see what happens when school ends," Boockvar contends. 

"Today is an encouraging report — a good, solid report as we just need to continue to build off this momentum," Walsh said.

Yahoo Finance's Emily McCormick contributed to this story.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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