The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that unemployment in May remained at 9.1 percent, while non-farm payroll employment added only 54,000 jobs, following gains that averaged 220,000 jobs in the prior three months.
The Labor Statistics release indicates that among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (8.9 percent), adult women (8.0 percent), teenagers (24.2 percent), whites (8 percent), blacks (16.2 percent) and Hispanics (11.9 percent) showed little or no change during the month of May, while the number of those jobless for 27 weeks and over increased by 361,000, to 6.2 million.
The report adds that in May the number of persons employed part-time (8.5 million) and persons who stopped looking for work (2.2 million) were about the same as a year earlier, while job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care and mining.
Employment in professional and business services continued to increase in May with notable job gains in accounting and bookkeeping services (+18,000) and in computer systems design and related services (+8,000).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the manufacturing sector lost about 5,000 jobs and the construction industry remained the same, while jobs in other industries, including retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality, grew little.
Center for American Progress analysis indicates that May is the 23rd month of unemployment at or above 9 percent since the Great Recession began, more months of such high unemployment than during any other recession going back to the Great Depression. American Progress adds that Labor Statistics reports that there is no evidence that May’s poor job data is due to weather-related shocks.
The key question is whether the meager 54,000 jobs added last month mark a temporary setback or are evidence of a more chronic problem. That total is far lower than the previous three months’ average of 220,000 new jobs per month.
The Herald adds that wages and salaries aren’t providing much help. “Average hourly earnings rose 1.8 percent in the past year, to $22.98 – not enough even to keep up with inflation.”
According to the Agency for Workforce Innovation, the unemployment rate in Florida was 10.8 percent in April 2011. There were more than 7.2 million employed workers in Florida by April of this year, a number that shows very little change since May 2010. Florida’s unemployment report for the month of May 2011 is due on June 17.