Employment Remains Strong

Total nonfarm payroll employment edged up in May (+75,000), and the unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services and in health care. The number
of unemployed persons remained at 5.9 million.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.3 percent), adult women (3.2 percent), teenagers (12.7 percent), Whites (3.3 percent), Blacks (6.2 percent), Asians (2.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent) showed little or no change in May.

U.S. Unemployment rate

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.3 million, changed little over the month and accounted for 22.4 percent of the unemployed.

Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.6 percent, were unchanged in May.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) declined by 299,000 in May to 4.4 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. Over the past 12 months, the number of involuntary part-time workers has declined by 565,000.

Meanwhile, 1.4 million persons were “marginally attached” to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. 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.