Friday, June 3, 2011

National (un)employment in May

Released today: National employment data and the national unemployment rate for May 2011

From April to May, total employment in the U.S. increased by 682,000. Employment normally increases by 628,000 at this time of year, so the increase was only 54,000 jobs more than normal.

May's gain was smaller than the improvements seen in the first few months of 2011. Based on this single month's data, some might declare that the economic recovery has stalled or that we're turning again toward a recession. Take caution with such gloomy declarations! One month of data is not a trend -- it's just a moment in time. Looking at several months of data, the trend still indicates we're experiencing healthy, gradual growth in employment.

Industries adding jobs in May included health care, mining, and professional and business services.

At 9.1 percent, the national unemployment rate was essentially unchanged in May*. In the final months of 2010 the unemployment rate was gradually decreasing, but since the start of the year it has seen almost no change. It's very likely that some of the unemployed persons who who were discouraged by the poor labor market have again resumed the search for work, thereby increasing the number of people officially counted as unemployed.

For more information about the latest numbers, please see the press release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

* Seasonally adjusted

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