Overall Employment

As a testament to how poorly the U.S. job market has been for the last year or so, it is considered good news when only 345,000 jobs are lost!

This May change was the smallest decline since last September, and the forecast had been for a loss of half a million jobs.

These factors, coupled with an upward revision of 82,000 jobs for March and April, was enough to spur hopes that the economy will begin to expand in late 2009.

The unemployment rate continued to climb reaching a 26-year high level of 9.4 percent.

Securities Industry

This industry continued to lose ground; shedding 10,800 jobs in May. Plus, further adjustments to previous months added another 14,100 jobs to the total.

If you’re keeping score, the total contraction in this field is nearly 87,000 jobs or 10 percent from the high-water mark reached in June of 2008.

Finance and Insurance

In this large sector of 5.75 million workers, 27,000 jobs were lost in May or just under one half of 1 percent. The contraction here from July 2007 to the current report was over 407,000 jobs, which is just over 7 percent.

As in the securities industry, we have yet to see a significant moderation of the rate of decline in this broader financial services group that could signal a return to growth.