Official Statement by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+54,000) in May, and the unemployment rate was essential unchanged at 9.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains continued in professional and business services, health care, and mining. Employment levels in other major private-sector industries were little changed, and local government employment continued to decline.
Unemployment Rate (Chart) Per the Household Survey Data, the unemployment rate (U-3) increased to 9.1% (preliminary) in May 2011, which is 2 consecutive monthly increases 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 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 13.91 million in May 2011. The Great Recession peak was in October 2009 at 15.63 million. The Post-Great Recession low has been 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 +54,000 (preliminary) in May 2011 and is the lowest monthly net job gains since since September 2010 (-29,000). 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, which was mostly attributable to the hiring of census workers. 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 = net private sector jobs gain/loss plus or minus net government sector jobs gain/loss.
Commentary The May increase in the Unemployment Rate (U-3) to 9.1% and the drop in the monthly increase (+54,000) in Total Nonfarm Employment is disappointing. This indicates USA economic expansion is slowing materially. Overall, the report indicates a continued weak, but not yet disastrous, employment situation for the USA. The +54,000 net jobs gain was comprised of +83,000 by the private sector and -29,000 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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