May's overall job growth disappointed, but there were pockets of strength with solid hiring in the health care, computer and digital design, and food service industries.
The Labor Department's Friday report on the employment situation also showed a decline in retail positions while manufacturing added to a string of lackluster prints.
CNBC studied the net changes by industry for May jobs based on the data from the Labor Department contained in the jobs report. The government said the U.S. economy added just 75,000 jobs last month, far fewer than the 180,000 increase expected by economists polled by Dow Jones.
The business and professional services sector added 33,000 jobs, with strong hiring in computer systems design, temporary help, and architectural and engineering services. The sector also includes lawyers, accountants and consultants.
The health-care and education sector — a consistent employment juggernaut — clinched the No. 2 spot with a net gain of 27,000 jobs. Health care and social services, including ambulatory outpatient care, hospitals and nursing and resident facilities added 24,000 jobs.
The manufacturing industry, a priority for President Donald Trump, posted a third straight month of weak hiring. The sector added just 3,000 jobs last month. Manufacturing hiring posted zero growth in March.
"Total nonfarm payroll employment edged up in May (+75,000), and the unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent," the Labor Department said in a release. "Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up over the month (+33,000) and has increased by 498,000 over the past 12 months."
"Employment showed little change in May in other major industries, including mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government," the Labor Department said.
Leisure and hospitality had a healthy net job gain of 26,000 thanks to a surge in employment adds in the food service industry. That topped the preliminary March read of 33,000; the leisure employment gains for March were adjusted higher to 37,000 in subsequent releases.
Retail trade shed 7,600 jobs following a loss of 12,000 in April and a decline of 15,000 jobs in March.