US Unemployment Rate Lowest Since May 2008


The jobless rate fell to 5.4 percent in April from 5.5 percent in the previous two months and the number of unemployed persons edged down to 8.5 million.

The number of persons unemployed for less than 5 weeks increased by 241,000  to 2.7 million in April. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) changed little at 2.5 million, accounting for 29.0 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has decreased by 888,000. 

In April, the civilian labor force participation rate (62.8 percent) changed little. Since April 2014, the participation rate has remained within a narrow range of 62.7 percent to 62.9 percent. The employment-population ratio held at 59.3 percent in April and has been at this level since January. 

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 6.6 million in April, but is down by 880,000 from a year earlier. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. 

In April, 2.1 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed over the year. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. 

Among the marginally attached, there were 756,000 discouraged workers in April, little different from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in April had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. 

Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.8 percentage point and 1.1 million, respectively. 

US Unemployment Rate Lowest Since May 2008


BLS | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
5/8/2015 1:57:33 PM