At best unemployment is plateauing, and it may be rising again.
Continuing our ongoing coverage of the labor market, the June Employment Situation release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics may signal the end of the tightening of the labor market. The U-3 unemployment rate rose by 0.1% and the U-6 “underemployment” rate rose 0.2%, the first increases of the year. Following on last month’s shrinking gains, this suggests at the very least that the labor market is stabilizing. This is not surprising given the Federal Reserve’s recent decisions to raise interest rates, driven in part by the tight labor market.
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
Last month’s substantial drop in the Civilian Labor Force number has essentially reversed itself, so part of the rise in the U-3 rate is due to more people actively seeking work. At the same time, almost all of the year’s decline in Discouraged Workers disappeared in June. Perhaps this will be another one month blip, but it would not be surprising to see unemployment moving back towards 5% in view of the Fed’s actions, and it would be consistent with historical patterns to see the U-6 number grow faster than the headline U-3 number as the labor market slows.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.