US Jobless Rate Lowest Since November 2007


The unemployment rate declined by 0.3 p.p. to 4.7 percent in May 2016 from 5 percent in April, beating market expectations of 4.9 percent. It was the lowest reading since November 2007, as the number of unemployed persons declined by 484,000 to 7.4 million and the labor force participation rate fell for the second month in a row.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.3 percent), adult women (4.2 percent), Whites (4.1 percent), and Hispanics (5.6 percent) declined in May. The rates for teenagers (16.0 percent), Blacks (8.2 percent), and Asians (4.1 percent) showed little or no change. 

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 178,000 to 1.9 million in May. These individuals accounted for 25.1 percent of the unemployed. The number of persons unemployed less than 5 weeks decreased by 338,000 to 2.2 million. 

The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs declined by 282,000 over the month to 3.6 million. 

The civilian labor force participation rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point to 62.6 percent.  The rate has declined by 0.4 percentage point over the past 2 months, offsetting gains in the first quarter. The employment-population ratio, at 59.7 percent, was unchanged. 

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (also referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by 468,000 to 6.4 million in May, after showing little movement since November. 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 May, 1.7 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. (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 538,000 discouraged workers in May, essentially unchanged 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 1.2 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in May had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. 

US Jobless Rate Lowest Since November 2007


BLS | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
6/3/2016 3:08:41 PM