US Jobless Rate Unchanged at 49-Year Low


The US unemployment rate stood at 3.6 percent in May 2019, unchanged from the previous month’s 49-year low and matching market expectations. The number of unemployed increased by 64 thousand to 5.9 million while employment rose by 113 thousand to 156.8 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. 

In May, the number of persons unemployed less than 5 weeks increased by 243,000 to 2.1 million, following a decline in April. 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.

There were 1.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) 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. Among the marginally attached, there were 338,000 discouraged workers in May, little changed from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in May had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

US Jobless Rate Unchanged at 49-Year Low


BLS | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com
6/7/2019 12:36:17 PM