Positive jobs growth in May indicated ahead of tomorrow’s BLS report. Employers face challenges in finding qualified workers.

Employment continues to grow nationally. That’s good news for our state, and underscores the importance of developing a skilled workforce.

Let’s begin with the jobs reports.

Calculated Risk reports:

On Friday at 8:30 AM ET, the BLS will release the employment report for May. The consensus, according to Bloomberg, is for an increase of 185,000 non-farm payroll jobs in May (with a range of estimates between 140,000 to 231,000), and for the unemployment rate to be unchanged at 4.4%.

Go to the site for a summary of recent jobs reports. One getting attention today is the ADP report. From the press release:

“May proved to be a very strong month for job growth,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Professional and business services had the strongest monthly increase since 2014. This may be an indicator of broader strength in the workforce since these services are relied on by many industries.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics said, “Job growth is rip-roaring. The current pace of job growth is nearly three times the rate necessary to absorb growth in the labor force. Increasingly, businesses’ number one challenge will be a shortage of labor.”

We’ve written about the shortage of qualified employees in our states, notably with respect to the projected 740,000 jobs opening up in the next five years that will be filled by applicants with postsecondary credentials.

Commenting on the ADP report, the chief economist at the National Association of Manufacturers writes,

ADP reported that manufacturing employment rose by 8,000 in May, increasing for the sixth straight month. From December through May, the sector added 114,000 net new workers. This was yet another sign that we have turned a corner in the labor market, with employers accelerating their hiring in light of stronger activity and sentiment.

This Associated Press story on the report emphasizes small business hiring. 

mall businesses kicked up their job creation in May, adding 83,000 jobs in a sign that they’re willing to take more risks.

That’s the report Thursday from payroll provider ADP, which also revised higher its count of new small business jobs for the previous two months. ADP is now reporting a 126,000 gain in March and 68,000 new jobs in April.

The National Federation of Independent Business also reports increased hiring by small business last month. Small businesses are also struggling to find qualified workers.

“Firms are adding workers, creating new positions, and increasing compensation to attract better applicants and keep their best performers,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “If there is a dark cloud in the data, it is that there aren’t enough qualified workers to fill the available jobs. That puts a strain on small employers.”

When it came to finding qualified workers, 51 percent of small firms said they came across “few” or “none.” According to the data, 12 percent of small firms relied on temporary workers in May, an increase of two points from April and another sign of a tightening labor market.

“The really good news is that small firms want to hire, and they are trying hard to create more jobs. The bad news is that they’re having a very hard time finding qualified workers,” said Dunkelberg. “That’s forcing them to increase compensation to stay competitive and hire temporary workers, but they are still having a difficult time increasing prices to absorb the additional costs.”

Washington, with one of the nation’s most vibrant state economies, offers tremendous opportunities to students in school today and to workers seeking to advance in their careers. The Spokesman-Review today reports on aerospace manufacturing.

Aerospace manufacturing is a growing, high-wage industry in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, and one that local business leaders want to continue to nurture.

More than 200 Eastern Washington companies make parts for commercial and military aircraft, primarily in Spokane and the Tri-Cities. Across the border in Idaho, another 60 companies have ties to aerospace.

And, again, the familiar refrain:

Finding skilled labor is an upcoming challenge for the local aerospace industry, said Wolkenhauer, the Idaho Department of Labor economist…

“The No. 1 constraint (on future growth) is the labor supply,” Wolkenhauer said.

Workforce training and education remain the key to increasing economic mobility. As lawmakers continue to work on education funding, reform and accountability, the high stakes involved cannot be more clear.