US Unemployment Rate Up to 5.5%


The jobless rate increased for the first time in four months to 5.5 percent in May from 5.4 percent in April as more people joined the labour force.

There were 8.7 million unemployed persons in May, slightly up from 8.5 million in April. Yet, the number of unemployed new entrants edged up by 103,000 in May but is about unchanged over the year. Unemployed new entrants are those who never previously worked.

The number of persons unemployed for less than 5 weeks decreased by 311,000 to 2.4 million in May, following an increase in April. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) held at 2.5 million in May and accounted for 28.6 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed is down by 849,000. 

In May, the civilian labor force rose by 397,000, and the labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.9 percent. Since April 2014, the participation rate has remained within a narrow range of 62.7 percent to 62.9 percent. The employment-population ratio, at 59.4 percent, was essentially unchanged in May. 

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was about unchanged at6.7 million in May and has shown little movement in recent months. 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, 1.9 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 268,000 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 563,000 discouraged workers in May, down by 134,000 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 1.3 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 Unemployment Rate Up to 5.5%


BLS | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
6/5/2015 1:42:36 PM