Jobs grew to a total that is 97,000 above the pre-recession peak and an all time high.
The civilian labor force rose by 192,000 in May, compared with a whopping drop of 806,000 in April. The employment-population ratio remained steady 58.9 percent. The labor force participation rate also remained where it was, 62.8 percent, after a 0.4 percent drop in April.
The number of officially unemployed Americans remained at 9.8 million. But this does not include millions of workers who have left the workforce out of despair that they will find a job.
Another alternative measure—U6—includes Americans with no job, AND also those working part time who want full-time positions and workers who have looked for jobs in the past 12 months but not in the past four weeks. U6 fell from 12.3 percent in April to 12.2 percent in May.
“The fourth month in a row of above 200,000 job gains is encouraging but the overall data was about in line with expectations and still points to an economy that is growing closer to 2.5% and not 3%,” Peter Boockvar at Lindsey Group wrote.
Gains in March were unrevised at 203,000, and they were revised from 288,000 to 282,000 in April.
The number of long-term unemployed—jobless for 27 weeks or more—fell slightly to 3.4 million, 34.6 percent of the total unemployed.
The payroll services company Automatic Data Processing reported on Wednesday that the economy gained a seasonally 179,000 private-sector jobs for May. ADP does not report on public-sector jobs and its calculation rarely match those of the BLS for private-sector jobs.
The Economic Policy Institute has been keeping track of what it calls "missing workers." These are Americans "who, because of weak job opportunities, are neither employed nor actively seeking a job." That is, they are people who would either be working or actively seeking work if the economy were stronger. Jobless workers are only counted as unemployed if they are actively seeking work. Thus these “missing workers” are not reflected in the unemployment rate.
EPI says there are currently 5.95 million of these missing workers and that if they were looking for jobs, the unemployment rate would be 9.7 percent. You can find EPI's methodology for calculating "missing workers" here. Here are three charts showing its findings:
Demographic breakdown of official (U3) seasonally adjusted jobless rate:
• African American: 11.5 percent
• Latino: 7.7 percent
• Asian (not seasonally adjusted): 5.3 percent
• American Indian (data not collected on monthly basis)
• White: 5.4 percent
• Adult women (20 and older): 5.7 percent
• Adult Men (20 and older): 5.9 percent
• Teenagers (16-19): 19.2 percent
Duration of unemployment:
• Less than five weeks: 2.6 million
• 5 to 14 weeks: 2.4 million
• 15 to 26 weeks: 1.4 million
• 27 weeks and more: 3.4 million
Job gains and losses in selected categories:
• Professional services: + 55,000
• Transportation and warehousing : + 16,000
• Leisure & hospitality: + 32,000
• Information: - 5,000
• Health care: + 55,000
• Retail trade: + 12,500
• Construction: + 6,000
• Manufacturing: + 10,000
• Average weekly manufacturing hours rose 0.2 hours to 41.1 hours.
• Average work week for all employees on non-farm payrolls remained at 34.5 hours.
• Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose a nickel to $24.38.
Here's what the seasonally adjusted job growth numbers have looked like in May for the previous 10 years.
May 2004: + 307,000
May 2005: + 175,000
May 2006: + 23,000
May 2007: + 144,000
May 2008: - 182,000
May 2009: - 354,000
May 2010: + 516,000 (heavy Census hiring)
May 2011: + 102,000
May 2012: + 110,000
May 2013: + 199,000
May 2014: + 217,000
The BLS jobs report is the product of a pair of surveys, one of more than 410,000 business establishments called Current Employment Statistics, and one called the Current Population Survey, which questions 60,000 householders each month. The establishment survey determines how many new jobs were added. It is always calculated on a seasonally adjusted basis determined by a frequently tweaked formula. The BLS report only provides a snapshot of what's happening at a single point in time.
It's important to understand that the jobs-created-last-month-numbers that it reports are not "real." Not because of a conspiracy, but because statisticians apply formulas to the raw data, estimate the number of jobs created by the "birth" and "death" of businesses, and use other filters to fine-tune the numbers. And, always good to remember, in the fine print, they tell us that the actual number of newly created jobs reported is actually plus or minus 100,000.