The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its May jobs report today, indicating job gains that were far less than projected.
Unemployment increased slightly 8.2 percent, with 10,000 new filings for unemployment benefits. Economists had expected 250,000 would be added: this shortfall in the job market combined with new unemployment filings indicates that the economic recovery is still on shaky ground heading into the summer. This puts president Obama on the defensive as he continues his campaign for reelection, and will have to answer questions form voters about why he was not able to meet expectations.
However employment did increase in health care, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade, but declined in construction. According to the economic news release just issued form the Bureau of Labor, statistics on employment changed little in most other major industries. Both the number of unemployed persons (12.7 million) and the unemployment rate (8.2 percent) changed little in May.
Employment in professional and business services was essentially unchanged in May as well. Since the most recent low point in September 2009, employment in these industries has grown by 1.4 million. The job market still remains bleak for African-Americans, who continue to maintain the highest rate of unemployment of all Americans at 13.6 percent.
“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,” according to the report released by BLS.
In May, 2.4 million persons were considered to be on the fringes of the labor force, up from 2.2 million a year earlier. These individuals were not in the labor force and had been looking for work within the past year.
The number of workers who were not seeking employment hovered around 830,000 — that number is about the same as a year earlier. These workers are persons not currently looking for work because they feel they have exhausted all of their options over the past twelve months and have become discouraged.
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