Unemployment’s downward trend continued, but the news wasn't as uniformly good as it was the first four months of the year.
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
U-6 Unemployment Rate
Civilian Noninstitutional Population*
Civilian Labor Force
Part-time for Economic Reasons
Marginally Attached to Workforce
* All numbers are in thousands
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.
David is one of the earliest writers for Torchlight, and also pinch hits on website support and editing/posting. He holds a PhD in Economics, which with $5 would get him a latte; sadly, he doesn’t even like coffee. He can be reached at email@example.com.