May 2017 Unemployment Update

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.

 

 

January


April


May

5 Month

Change 

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

+72

Employed

152,081

153,156

152,923

+842

Unemployed

7,635

7,056

6,861

-774

Employment-Population Ratio

59.9%

60.2%

60.0%

-0.1%

Part-time for Economic Reasons

5,840

5,272

5,219

-621

Marginally Attached to Workforce

1,752

1,534

1,475

-277

  • Discouraged Workers

532

455

355

-177

     

* 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.

You may also like

Popular News