Friday, May 6, 2011

USA Unemployment Rate Rises to 9.0% (Charts) *Jobs growth +244K in April*

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Bureau of Labor Statistics: Monthly Employment Situation Summary


Official Statement by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 244,000 in April, and the unemployment rate edged up to 9.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in several service-providing industries, manufacturing, and mining.

Unemployment Rate (Chart) Per the Household Survey Data, the unemployment rate (U-3) increased to 9.0% (preliminary) in April after 2 months below 9%. The unemployment rate had been at or above 9% from May 2009 through January 2011, for 21 consecutive months. The Great Recession peak was in October 2009 at 10.1%. The Post-Great Recession low has been last month, March 2011, at 8.8%. Below is a chart of the unemployment rate (U-3) from that Great Recession peak in October 2009 through the latest month reported.


Total Unemployed (Chart) Per the Household Survey Data, the total unemployed increased to 13.75 million in April. The Great Recession peak was in October 2009 at 15.63 million. The Post-Great Recession low has been last month, March 2011, at 13.54 million. Below is a chart of the total unemployed from January 2008.


Total Nonfarm Employment Monthly Net Change (Chart) Per the Establishment Survey Data, total nonfarm employment increased +244,000 (preliminary) in April and is the highest since May 2010 (+458,000 attributable to hiring U.S. Census workers). The total  nonfarm  employment job losses peaked during the Great Recession at -820,000 in January 2009. The best jobs gain subsequently has been the +458,000 in May 2010. Below is a chart of the total nonfarm employment monthly net change from January 2008 through the latest month reported. Total nonfarm employment is a net number: private sector plus or minus government sector jobs.


Commentary The April increase in the Unemployment Rate (U-3) to 9.0% and the monthly increase (+244,000) in Total Nonfarm Employment is somewhat conflicting, which is not unusual for the Bureau of Labor Statistics Monthly Employment Situation Summary. That is, there is a relatively strong increase in total employment (+244,000) yet the unemployment rate goes up (9.0%). The data is derived from separate sources, as noted below. Therefore, there are both good and bad aspects to this data. Overall, the report indicates a continued weak, but not disastrous, employment situation for the USA. The +244,000 net jobs gain was +268,000 by the private sector and -24,000 by the government sector.

[Editor's Note] Please note the unemployment rate is calculated by a household survey and the jobs data (increase or decrease) is calculated by an employer survey. The household survey includes self-employed and farm workers, the employer survey does not include these. Overall, the jobs data (employer survey) has continued to indicate insufficient jobs growth to decrease the unemployment rate (household survey).


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