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Nationwide unemployment rate unchanged in May

June 7, 2013

Online Staff Report

The nationwide unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.6 percent in May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported June 7.

The number of those unemployed rose by 175,000 in May, while employment rose in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, and retail trade.

The Rockford metro area’s unemployment rate was 9.9 percent in April, while the state unemployment rate was 8.7 percent. State numbers for May will be released Thursday, June 20, while metro area data for May will be released Thursday, June 27.

Nationally in May, both the number of unemployed people, at 11.8 million, and the unemployment rate, at 7.6 percent, were essentially unchanged. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.2 percent), adult women (6.5 percent), teenagers (24.5 percent), whites (6.7 percent), blacks (13.5 percent), and Hispanics (9.1 percent) showed little or no change in May. The jobless rate for Asians was 4.3 percent, little changed from a year earlier.

In May, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged at 4.4 million. These individuals accounted for 37.3 percent of the unemployed.

Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 1 million.

The civilian labor force rose by 420,000 to 155.7 million in May; however, the labor force participation rate was little changed at 63.4 percent.

Over the year, the labor force participation rate has declined by 0.4 percentage point. The employment-population ratio was unchanged in May at 58.6 percent, and has shown little movement, on net, over the past year.

In May, the number of people employed part-time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was unchanged at 7.9 million. These individuals were working part-time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In May, 2.2 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, down from 2.4 million a year earlier. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 780,000 discouraged workers in May, little changed from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are people not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million people marginally attached to the labor force in May had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Over the prior 12 months, employment growth averaged 172,000 per month. Professional and business services added 57,000 jobs in May. Within this industry, employment continued to trend up in temporary help services (plus 26,000), computer systems design and related services (plus 6,000), and architectural and engineering services (plus 5,000).

Employment in professional and business services has grown by 589,000 over the past year.

Within leisure and hospitality, employment in food services and drinking places continued to expand, increasing by 38,000 in May and by 337,000 over the past year.

Retail trade employment increased by 28,000 in May. The industry added an average of 20,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months. In May, general merchandise stores continued to add jobs (plus 10,000).

Health care employment continued to trend up in May (plus 11,000). Job gains in home health care services (plus 7,000) and outpatient care centers (plus 4,000) more than offset a loss in hospitals (minus 6,000). Over the prior 12 months, job growth in health care averaged 24,000 per month.

Within government, federal government employment declined by 14,000 in May. Over the past three months, federal government employment has decreased by 45,000.

Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, and financial activities, showed little or no change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged in May at 34.5 hours. In manufacturing, the workweek increased by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours, and overtime was unchanged at 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours.

In May, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $23.89, changed little (plus 1 cent). Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 46 cents, or 2 percent. In May, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees, at $20.08, changed little (plus 1 cent).

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for March was revised from plus 138,000 to plus 142,000, and the change for April was revised from plus 165,000 to plus 149,000. With these revisions, employment gains in March and April combined were 12,000 less than previously reported.

Posted June 7, 2013

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