Jun 02, 2017

Putting U.S. Employment Numbers in Context – May 2017

Post by Freedom Partners

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the unemployment rate for May 2017 was 4.3 percent and that the economy added 138,000 jobs.

Today marks the fourth full monthly report for the Trump administration and the lowest unemployment rate since May 2001. The average monthly jobs gain during this time has been 149,000.

Despite the unemployment rate being the lowest in over fifteen years, millions of Americans are still struggling to find work.

The good news is that Washington has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact comprehensive tax reform that encourages growth and helps improve the lives of millions of Americans, as well as institute bold, pro-growth policies that curb overspending and reduce regulatory burdens for families and individuals.

Below is a deeper look at the numbers from today’s report and what they say about the state of the U.S. economy and labor market.

Unemployment by the Numbers

4.3%: The unemployment rate decreased to 4.3 percent during May, down from 4.4 percent in April 2016.

6,861,000: The total number of unemployed individuals during May was 6.9 million, down from 7.1 million in April.

138,000: The economy added 138,000 jobs during May, down from 174,000 jobs added during April. The number of jobs added during March was revised down to 50,000 from the 79,000 reported last month.

13,555,000: The total number of individuals “underemployed” was 13.6 million during May 2017. This includes those individuals who are unemployed (6.9 million), those who want a job but are no longer looking for work (1.5 million) and those individuals who are working part-time because no other work was available (5.2 million).

8.4%: The “underemployment” or “real unemployment” rate was 8.4 percent during May 2017. Real unemployment decreased 0.2 percentage points from April 2017.

7.5%: The African American unemployment rate decreased to 7.5 percent last month, down from 7.9 percent during April.

5.2%: The Hispanic unemployment rate stayed the same at 5.2 percent during May 2017.

(429,000): The civilian labor force decreased 429,000 during May 2017.

62.7%: The Labor Force Participation Rate was 62.7 percent during May 2017.

1,663,000: The number of individuals unemployed for longer than 27 weeks was 1.7 million during May. The total number of long-term unemployed increased 37,000, or 2 percent from April 2017.

5,219,000: The number of individuals forced to work part time because no full-time work was available was 5.2 million during May, down from 5.3 million from April.

1,475,000: The number of individuals who attempted to look for a job at some point in the last year but have given up their search was 1.5 million during May 2017.

656,000: There were 656,000 unemployed first-time job entrants during May 2017. These individuals entered the labor market for the first time and were unable to find work.

25 Weeks: The average number of weeks it took job seekers to find work increased to 24.7 weeks in May.

6.6%: The millennial unemployment rate (18-29) increased to 6.6 percent in May. When adjusting for pre-recession 2007 labor force participation rates, this figure increases to 10.8 percent.