Payroll employment up 54,000 in May; unemployment rate edges up to 9.1%

Jun 03 2011

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May Employment and Unemployment: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released a report today on payroll employment and unemployment for May (pdf summary available at Highlights of the report:

Unemployment Rate

  • The unemployment rate edged up to 9.1% in May, from a level of 9.0% in April and 8.8% in March.  
  • The percentage and number of long-term unemployed (those unemployed for 27 weeks or longer) jumped up to 45.1% and 6.2 million in May, from 43.4% and 5.8 million in April. 
  • The labor force rose by 272,000 in May and the labor force participation rate held steady at 64.2%. 
  • There were 13.9 million unemployed persons in May, up from 13.7 million in April and 13.5 million in March.

Payroll Employment

  • Total non-farm payroll employment edged up by 54,000 in May, following gains of 232,000 in April (revised down from 244,000) and 194,000 in March (revised down from 221,000).  The 54,000 increase fell short of expectations for a gain of about 170,000, and also fell short of the 130,000 to 150,000 new jobs needed to keep up with population growth.  

o   Private sector employment rose by 83,000 while government employment fell by 29,000.

o   The largest private sector employment gains came from professional and business services (+44,000), health care (+17,000), and mining (+7,000).

o   The average workweek was unchanged at 34.4 hours for all private nonfarm employees. 


Job Gains by Sector since the Official Start and Official End of the Recession



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