Jobless rate declines 0.1 percent in May

WASHINGTON—The U.S. jobless rate declined 0.1 percent in May to 4.3 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. But that’s because the labor force declined by 429,000 people last month, including 195,000 fewer jobless. The number of jobless was 6.861 million in May. And a separate survey showed businesses claimed to create a net of 138,000 new jobs.

In Republican President Donald “Trump’s first four months in office, we added 149,000 jobs per month on average, compared with 194,000 on average for the last year of the prior” Democratic Obama administration, said Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute policy chief.

“We still have very elevated long-term unemployment. The long-term share of the unemployed” – people out of a job more than six months – “increased from 22.6 percent in April to 24 percent in May. Improvement in the unemployment rate is for ‘bad’ reasons,” declining worker participation in the labor force, not good ones: “a higher share of people finding work.”

Factories shed 1,000 workers in May, down to 12.398 million, BLS said. But the only three really noticeable changes were all job gains, in primary metals (+2,900 jobs), fabricated metal products (+3,500) and machinery (+3,700). Factory worker joblessness was 3.2 percent.

Construction companies added 11,000 jobs in May, to 6.881 million. A 7,200-job gain in civil and heavy engineering offset a 6,300-job loss among non-residential specialty contractors. Construction joblessness was 5.3 percent, but union leaders say that understates reality.

Low-paying service jobs, as usual, led the way in job creation. Service claimed to create 131,000 new jobs, led by temps (+12,900), health care (+24,300) and the lowest-paying occupation of all, bars and restaurants (+30,300). Governments shed 9,000 jobs in May, with 7,100 of that loss coming in the states.

Source: PAI