Following up on our coverage of April’s employment data, the May Employment Situation release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics continues the same trends we’ve seen all year. The U-3 unemployment rate dropped by another 0.1%, while the U-6 “underemployment” rate dropped by another 0.2%. Neither shift is dramatic, but it suggests the labor market is still reasonably tight.
|U-3 Unemployment Rate||4.8%||4.4%||4.3%||-0.5%|
|U-6 Unemployment Rate||9.4%||8.6%||8.4%||-1.0%|
|Civilian Noninstitutional Population*||254,082||254,588||254,767||+685|
|Civilian Labor Force||159,716||160,213||159,784||+497|
|Part-time for Economic Reasons||5,840||5,272||5,219||-621|
|Marginally Attached to Workforce||1,752||1,534||1,475||-218|
|* All numbers are in thousands|
(For more details on the calculations behind these numbers, see our Lamppost on unemployment.)
However, the Civilian Labor Force number is slightly unsettling, as it shows that approximately 400,000 people dropped out of the workforce in May, split about evenly between Employed and Unemployed. This may simply be the normal statistical noise seen from month-to-month, or perhaps a return to the declines expected due to the retirements of Baby Boomers. Either way, it will be worth watching in future months.