Unemployment rate climbs to 9.4%

Only 345,000 jobs lost. This is a hugely bullish report despite the headine number.  Markets are already reacting.  Bonds lower (ten-year is getting killed, now near 3.90%), stocks higher.

Here is what the Department of Labor had to say about the numbers:

Nonfarm payroll employment fell by 345,000 in May, about half the average monthly decline for the prior 6 months, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The unemployment rate continued to rise, increasing from 8.9 to 9.4 percent. Steep job losses continued in manufacturing, while declines moderated in construction and several service-providing industries.

Unemployment (Household Survey Data)

The number of unemployed persons increased by 787,000 to 14.5 million in May, and the unemployment rate rose to 9.4 percent. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has risen by 7.0 million, and the unemployment rate has grown by 4.5 percentage points. (See table A-1.)

Unemployment rates rose in May for adult men (9.8 percent), adult women (7.5 percent), whites (8.6 percent), and Hispanics (12.7 percent). The jobless rates for teenagers (22.7 percent) and blacks (14.9 percent) were little changed over the month. The unemployment rate for Asians was 6.7 percent in May, not seasonally adjusted, up from 3.8 percent a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs rose by 732,000 in May to 9.5 million. This group has increased by 5.8 million since the start of the recession. (See table A-8.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 268,000 over the month to 3.9 million and has tripled since the start of the recession. (See table A-9.)

Total Employment and the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)

In May, the civilian labor force participation rate was about unchanged at 65.9 percent. The employment-population ratio, at 59.7 percent, continued to trend down. The ratio has declined by 3.0 percentage points since December 2007. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons working part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in May at 9.1 million. The number of such workers has risen by 4.4 million during the recession. (See table A-5.)

Persons Not in the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)

About 2.2 million persons (not seasonally adjusted) were marginally attached to the labor force in May, 794,000 more than a year earlier. These individuals 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. Among the marginally attached, there were 792,000 discouraged workers in May, up by 392,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The other 1.4 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-13.)

Industry Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey Data)

Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 345,000 in May to 132.2 million. The decline was about half of the average monthly job loss for the prior 6 months (-643,000). Since the recession began in December 2007, payroll employment has fallen by 6.0 million. In May, job losses continued to be widespread across major industry sectors. Steep job losses continued in manufacturing, while the rate of decline moderated in several industries, including construction, professional and business services, and retail trade. (See table B-1.)

Manufacturing employment fell by 156,000 in May. Job losses occurred in most component industries. Three durable goods industries–motor vehicles and parts (-30,000), machinery (-26,000), and fabricated metal products (-19,000)–accounted for about half of the overall decline in factory employment. Since its most recent peak in February 2000, employment in motor vehicles and parts has fallen by about 50 percent. Mining shed 11,000 jobs in May, about the same number as in April.

Employment in construction decreased by 59,000 in May, compared with an average monthly job loss of 117,000 in the industry for the previous 6 months. In May, employment fell in nonresidential specialty trade contractors (-30,000) and in residential construction of buildings (-11,000).

Job losses in professional and business services moderated in May, with the industry shedding 51,000 jobs. This compares with an average loss of 136,000 jobs per month in the prior 6 months. The temporary help services industry, which had been dropping an average of 73,000 jobs per month over this period, saw little employment change in May (-7,000).

Employment in leisure and hospitality was flat over the month. The industry had lost an average of 39,000 jobs per month during the prior 6 months.

Retail trade employment was down by 18,000 in May; job cutbacks in retail trade have moderated markedly in the past 2 months. Employment in wholesale trade fell by 22,000 over the month, with over half of the decrease (-14,000) among durable goods wholesalers.

Financial activities employment continued to decrease in May (-30,000). Securities lost 10,000 jobs and real estate lost 9,000. Employment in credit intermediation continued to trend down, although the May job loss was well below the average job loss for the prior 6 months. Employment in information decreased by 24,000 in May.

Health care employment increased by 24,000 in May, about in line with its average monthly job growth so far in 2009. Employment in government changed little in May.

The change in total nonfarm employment for March was revised from -699,000 to -652,000, and the change for April was revised from -539,000 to -504,000.

Weekly Hours (Establishment Survey Data)

In May, the average workweek for production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour to 33.1 hours, seasonally adjusted. The manufacturing workweek decreased by 0.2 hour to 39.3 hours, and factory overtime was unchanged at 2.7 hours. (See table B-2.)

The index of aggregate weekly hours of production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls fell by 0.7 percent in May. The manufacturing index declined by 2.1 percent over the month. (See table B-5.)

Hourly and Weekly Earnings (Establishment Survey Data)

In May, average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls were essentially unchanged at $18.54, seasonally adjusted. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings increased by 3.1 percent, while average weekly earnings rose by only 1.2 percent, reflecting a decline in the average workweek. (See table B-3.)

More analysis in a later post.

Employment Situation Summary – U.S. Department of Labor

  1. Bob_in_MA says

    It sure seemed like a bullish report to me, too. The market is flat right now, that must give pause to the bulls.

    On another subject, I was looking at the personal income/expenditure stats released Monday. Disposable personal income increased 1.1%, or an annual rate of $121B. That accounted for a big chunk of the stimulus headed directly to individuals.

    And yet spending FELL .1%!

    The caution that stimulus money is mostly saved seems to have been have been proven true. The balance sheet aspect of this recession made it even more likely I guess.

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