Those categories include many lower-paying occupations. By contrast, the recession sharply cut jobs in higher-paying industries such as manufacturing, construction and finance, which have yet to recover.
Mark Vitner, an economist at Wells Fargo, calculated that about 60 percent of the jobs created in May were in lower-paying fields. Even in a professional field such as health care, one of the biggest job creators was home health care services, where care providers earn about $10 an hour, according to government data, he said.
“It’s hard to get meaningful income growth with these types of jobs,” Vitner said.
Rob McGahen, 29, has felt the trend personally. After receiving his master’s in business administration in 2007, McGahen worked for Boeing in St. Louis, buying parts for military planes.
Last year, after moving with his wife to Pensacola, Fla., McGahen sought work for about nine months. He settled for a part-time job in the produce section of Publix, a supermarket chain.
“It’s certainly not a long-term plan,” McGahen said. “But it keeps me busy. It keeps my skills from atrophying.”
Stock markets have gyrated in the past two weeks on speculation that the Fed would soon start to taper its $85 billion-a-month in bond buying — a step that could raise rates and cause stock prices to fall.
“I think the Fed will stay on hold,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight. “They want to see numbers above 200,000 on payroll jobs on a consistent basis before they start to taper off.”
Behravesh said he thinks the Fed will maintain its pace of bond buying through this year before scaling it back in 2014.
“Today’s report is perhaps the perfect number for nervous investors,” said James Marple, Senior Economist at TD Economics. “It is strong enough to point to continued economic recovery but not so strong as to bring forward expectations of Fed tapering.”