Unemployment number disappoints

Total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 431,000 in May, reflecting the hiring of 411,000 temporary employees to work on Census 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Private-sector employment changed little (+41,000). Manufacturing, temporary help services, and mining added jobs, while construction employment declined. The unemployment rate edged down to 9.7%.

Household Survey Data

The number of unemployed persons was 15.0 million in May. The unemployment rate edged down to 9.7%, the same rate as in the first 3 months of 2010. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for blacks (15.5%) declined in May, while the rates for adult men (9.8%), adult women (8.1%), teenagers (26.4%), whites (8.8%), and Hispanics (12.4%) showed little change. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.5%, not seasonally adjusted(See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3).

In May, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was about unchanged at 6.8 million. These individuals made up 46% of unemployed persons, about the same as in April(See table A-12).

The number of unemployed reentrants to the labor force fell by 286,000 in May, offsetting an increase in April (See table A-11). In May, the civilian labor force participation rate edged down by 0.2 percentage points to 65%. The employment-population ratio was about unchanged over the month at 58.7%(See table A-1).

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (some times referred to as involuntary part-time workers) declined by 343,000 in May to 8.8 million. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job(See table A-8).

About 2.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in May, unchanged 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 four weeks preceding the survey(See table A-16).

Among the marginally attached, there were 1.1 million discouraged workers in May, up by 291,000 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 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities (See table A-16).

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