Nonfarm payroll employment changed little in May (+69,000), and the unemployment rate
was essentially unchanged at 8.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported
today. Employment increased in health care, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale
trade but declined in construction. Employment was little changed in most other major
Household Survey Data
Both the number of unemployed persons (12.7 million) and the unemployment rate (8.2
percent) changed little in May. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.8 percent) and
Hispanics (11.0 percent) edged up in May, while the rates for adult women (7.4 percent),
teenagers (24.6 percent), whites (7.4 percent), and blacks (13.6 percent) showed little
or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.2 percent in May (not seasonally
adjusted), down from 7.0 percent a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) rose from 5.1
to 5.4 million in May. These individuals accounted for 42.8 percent of the unemployed.
(See table A-12.)
The civilian labor force participation rate increased in May by 0.2 percentage point
to 63.8 percent, offsetting a decline of the same amount in April. The employment-
population ratio edged up to 58.6 percent in May. (See table A-1.)
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers) edged up to 8.1 million over the month. These
individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because
they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)
In May, 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, up from 2.2
million a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) 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 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)
Among the marginally attached, there were 830,000 discouraged workers in May, about the
same as a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are
persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for
them. The remaining 1.6 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in May
had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school
attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment changed little in May (+69,000), following a similar
change in April (+77,000). In comparison, the average monthly gain was 226,000 in the
first quarter of the year. In May, employment rose in health care, transportation and
warehousing, and wholesale trade, while construction lost jobs. (See table B-1.)
Health care employment continued to increase in May (+33,000). Within the industry,
employment in ambulatory health care services, which includes offices of physicians
and outpatient care centers, rose by 23,000 over the month. Over the year, health care
employment has risen by 340,000.
Transportation and warehousing added 36,000 jobs over the month. Employment gains in
transit and ground passenger transportation (+20,000) and in couriers and messengers
(+5,000) followed job losses in those industries in April. Employment in both industries
has shown little net change over the year. In May, truck transportation added 7,000 jobs.
Employment in wholesale trade rose by 16,000 over the month. Since reaching an employment
low in May 2010, this industry has added 184,000 jobs.
Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in May (+12,000) following a similar
change in April (+9,000). Job gains averaged 41,000 per month in the first quarter of
this year. In May, employment rose in fabricated metal products (+6,000) and in primary
metals (+4,000). Since its most recent low in January 2010, manufacturing employment has
increased by 495,000.
Construction employment declined by 28,000 in May, with job losses occurring in specialty
trade contractors (-18,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (-11,000).
Since reaching a low in January 2011, employment in construction has shown little change
Employment in professional and business services was essentially unchanged in May. Since
the most recent low point in September 2009, employment in this industry has grown by
1.4 million. In May, job losses in accounting and bookkeeping services (-14,000) and in
services to buildings and dwellings (-14,000) were offset by small gains elsewhere in
Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, retail trade,
information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, changed
little in May.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour
to 34.4 hours in May. The manufacturing workweek declined by 0.3 hour to 40.5 hours, and
factory overtime declined by 0.1 hour to 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production
and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.7 hours.
In May, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up
by 2 cents to $23.41. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased
by 1.7 percent. In May, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees edged down by 1 cent to $19.70. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for March was revised from +154,000 to
+143,000, and the change for April was revised from +115,000 to +77,000.