Transportation and warehousing added 36,000 jobs in May, the largest gain of any industry in a month when only 69,000 jobs were added to non-farm payrolls, according to monthly employment data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.2 percent, the BLS said, as the nation's hiring rate slowed. Payroll employment rose by an average of 226,000 jobs a month in the first quarter, but only 73,000 jobs a month in April and May.
The 0.8 percent sequential monthly gain in seasonally adjusted transportation employment was mainly from 25,000 jobs added in transit and ground passenger transportation. Transportation employment was up 2.1 percent year-over-year, expanding on gains among some sectors in April.
The BLS counted approximately 4,378,400 transportation and warehousing jobs in its May survey. Non-adjusted numbers were slightly higher. Total U.S. payroll employment for the month was just above 133 million, a 1.4 percent increase from a year ago.
Trucking employment expanded by 7,300 jobs in May, while couriers and messenger companies added 6,000 jobs. Warehousing and storage operators added about 1,400 workers to their payrolls, and rail operators 500 jobs, according to the BLS data.
Air and water transportation employment dropped by a few hundred jobs in May.
Manufacturing employment also rose in May, faster than in April though at a slower pace than in the first quarter. Manufacturers added 12,000 jobs in May, compared with 9,000 in April and an average of 41,000 jobs a month in the first quarter of 2012.
Health care providers added 33,000 jobs in May, while wholesale trade employment rose by 16,000 jobs. Construction employment declined by 28,000 jobs, however, and has increased only 1.1 percent since hitting its nadir in January 2011.