US employment likely increased at a brisk clip in May, with the jobless rate expected to have dropped to its pre-pandemic low of 3.5 percent, signs of a tight labor market that could keep the Federal Reserve's foot on the pedal to cool demand, according to Reuters.
The Labor Department's closely watched employment report on Friday, also expected to show strong wage gains last month, would paint a picture of an economy that continues to expand, although at a moderate pace, it said.
Nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 325,000 jobs last month after rising 428,000 in April, according to a Reuters survey of economists. That would be the smallest gain in a year, and would end 12 straight months of payroll gains in excess of 400,000, the longest such streak on record, the report said.
Employment would be about 865,000 jobs below its pre-pandemic level. Estimates ranged from as low as 250,000 jobs added to as high as 477,000. Job gains, however, would still be way above the monthly average that prevailed before the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, the report said.
The survey was conducted before the ADP National Employment Report on Thursday, which showed private payrolls rose by only 128,000 jobs in May, the smallest gain in two years, the report said.
(With inputs from Reuters)