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5 Sector ETFs to Play Robust May Jobs Data

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The U.S. economy added 390,000 jobs in May 2022 (lower than 436,000 jobs in April), the least since April last year but above market forecasts of 325,000. The latest reading left the economy 0.5% below its pre-pandemic level, in a telltale sign of a solid labor market.  

The unemployment rate was at 3.6%, just above the lowest level since December 1969. Economists surveyed by the Dow Jones had been expecting the unemployment rate to edge lower to 3.5%. Average hourly earnings increased 0.3% from April, slightly lower than the 0.4% estimate. The year-over-year increase of 5.2% for wages was in line with expectations.

“Despite the slight cooldown, the tight labor market is clearly sticking around and is shrugging off fears of a downturn,” said Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor’s senior economist, as quoted on CNBC. Below, we have highlighted some of the sectors that will likely see smooth trading in the days ahead in light of the June jobs data.


Last month, leisure and hospitality employment grew by 84,000, thanks mainly to the increasing reopening of the economy as well as Memorial Day weekend celebration. Gains mainly occurred in food services and drinking places (+46,000). Job gains were also logged in accommodation (+21,000). Employment in leisure and hospitality is still down by 7.9% from February 2020.

The data makes Invesco Dynamic Leisure and Entertainment ETF (PEJ - Free Report) a timely investment. The fund has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) with a High risk outlook.


Employment in transportation and warehousing was decent in May (+47,000). Employment gains in warehousing and storage (+18,000), air transportation (+6,000), and truck transportation (+13,000) were noteworthy. Since February 2020, employment in transportation and warehousing is up by 709,000. SPDR S&P Transportation ETF (XTN - Free Report) has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) with a High risk outlook.


Employment in manufacturing (+18,000) was moderate in May. Within the industry, job gains in fabricated metal products (+7,000), wood products (+4,000) and electronic instruments (+3,000) were notable. Employment in manufacturing is down by only 0.1% from its level in February 2020. Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLI - Free Report) has a Zacks Rank #2.


Employment in construction rose by 36,000 in May, flat with April. In May, job gains occurred in specialty trade contractors (+17,000) and heavy and civil engineering construction (+11,000). Construction employment is 40,000 higher than in February 2020. iShares U.S. Infrastructure ETF (IFRA - Free Report) can prove to be a good long-term bet.


Employment in mining rose by 6,000 in May, reflecting an uptick in support activities for mining. Mining employment is now up by 80,000 from a recent low in February 2021. SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME - Free Report) can thus be considered for a play.