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Economy Surges With 280,000 Jobs, But Unemployment Remains at 5.5%

| June 5, 2015

us unemployment may 2015

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Shedding its one-month March lag and a negative first-quarter growth report for good, the national economy in May added 280,000 jobs and revised figures for the previous two months added 32,000 more (for a total of 340,000 jobs those two months). But the unemployment rate, calculated from a different survey, remained at 5.5 percent. Still, the new jobs bring the total to 12.6 million private-sector jobs created over the last 63 months, one of the better performances of extended growth since World War II.


The economy added 103,000 new entrants to the workforce–people who have never held jobs before. While the labor force rose by 397,000, the labor force participation rate, which fell drastically during the Great Recession, was little changed, at 62.9 percent, and the employment-population ratio, also lower since the recession, was unchanged, at 59.4 percent. Those fallen numbers coincide with the beginning of large-scale retirements among baby boomers. Because of that, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports “growth in the labor force during 2012–2022 is projected to be smaller than in the previous 10-year period, 2002–2012, when the labor force grew by 10.1 million, a 0.7-percent annual growth rate.”

The alternative–and more accurate–measure of employment and unemployment, the BLS’s so-called U-6 rate, had also stalled in May, remaining at 10.8 percent. That’s the rate that reflects those who are unemployed, those who have dropped out of the labor force altogether, for being discouraged, and the 6.7 million Americans working part time because they could not find full-time work, or because their hours were cut back though they need full time work. The number of those working part-time involuntarily has barely fallen over the year, from 7 million last May. An additional 20 million Americans hold part-time employment because that’s what they want to do, up from 19.4 million last May.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private payrolls rose by a more robust 8 cents, to $24.96. But over the year, average hourly earnings, which have been depressed for several years, have risen by just 2.3 percent. Even though that’s the largest year-over-year increase since August 2013, it’s not enough to overcome the cost of inflation, and not at all enough to give a majority workers a sense that they are getting ahead or improving their standard of living. Upper-income wages have risen much faster.

In May, the largest job gains gains occurred in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and health care. Mining employment continued to decline. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (5.0 percent), adult women (5.0), teenagers (17.9), whites (4.7 ), blacks (10.2), Asians (4.1), and Hispanics (6.7) showed little or no change in May.

“The recovery continues apace with strong and steady job growth,” Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in a release this morning. “But the wind at our back isn’t propelling everyone forward. From education and skills development to minimum wage and paid leave, the Obama administration continues to work every day to extend more opportunity to more people. We hope Congress will join us in our efforts to reward hard work and give everyone the chance to punch their ticket to the middle class.”

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10 Responses for “Economy Surges With 280,000 Jobs, But Unemployment Remains at 5.5%”

  1. Derf says:

    You only need to read this section to realize that things are not as “wonderful” as this administration claims.

    “U-6 rate, had also stalled in May, remaining at 10.8 percent. That’s the rate that reflects those who are unemployed, those who have dropped out of the labor force altogether, for being discouraged, and the 6.7 million Americans working part time because they could not find full-time work, or because their hours were cut back though they need full time work. The number of those working part-time involuntarily has barely fallen over the year, from 7 million last May. An additional 20 million Americans hold part-time employment because that’s what they want to do, up from 19.4 million last May”

    Both the right and left like to use whatever number makes them look good. But the fact remains, things are not getting better. 10.8% is the real number since it includes people who are taking part time jobs because they have to and those who have just given up. Those that have given up are moved over to taking milk by sucking off the government tit. And that is right were this admin wants them…… under control with their Obama phone’s…….

  2. Sherry E says:

    Lovely comment Derf. . . the last two sentences are right from FOX/Rush’s playbook. . . how very original!

    • YankeeExPat says:

      Good Catch; Sherry E says:

      Notice Derf didn’t use the Rushbows Code word “Ditto”

      I remember when I would be considered “middle of the Road”, now according to the Right-Wingers, I ‘m as Communist as Stalin’s sister!

      • Derf says:

        Notice how when the libs can’t dispute what is presented to them they just say you are a “right winger / fox news / or Rush” fanatic. I am far from it. I have no issue commenting on either side of the isle when they are wrong. Dispute the post. I dare ya.

    • Derf says:

      Hmmm… interesting since I don’t pay attention to either…. Nice input though. You obviously thought long and hard about your reply. Hope you did not strain yourself. Were you unable to comeback with anything to dispute my post. As I indicated, the right and the left use what ever number is to the advantage of their administration. I have no issue criticizing the left or right if they are shoveling sh*t. Do you dispute what the real number is? Do you agree if people just give up they should just not be counted? Do you disagree that this admin just keeps adding to the ranks of unemployed and those that rely on government assistance? Why do they hide the real number?

  3. Jim R says:

    If all the people on food stamps had to line up for food as they did during the Great Depression, we would get a true picture of the poverty in America. No matter how they try to hide it the capitalist system is a failure except for the elites at the top and their servants in the media and the political class. There are still a small number that make up what was known as the great middle class, those that still have decent jobs or are on generous pensions. If they don’t know what shaky ground they are on and that they have a target on their backs they are not paying attention. The trade deals that Obama and his Republican friends along with some Democrats are pushing for will cause many more to lose jobs and the pension reform act gives corporations and unions the right to reduce pensions by 60%. this will put the finishing touch on the middle class..

  4. Lancer says:

    Or, maybe, people get their news from Drudge Report…like everyone else. It’s the “rush and fox” comments that are completely bogus.

    Anyone who bothers researching knows that PT jobs are calculated. That there are a record number of people not searching for work. The economy is not booming and is stagnant…and has been. Just look at what percentage government spending take up in our GDP.

    Meanwhile, you have “Jim R” talking about the “failure of the capitalist system”?? Jim R riddle me this? Since 1964 we have instituted over 80 entitlement programs to care for the Poor. We have spent, as of 2012, $22 trillion dollars on these programs. We have the same poverty rate as we did in 1967! We are spending money on people to provide a “security net” who are not providing. Meanwhile, we crank taxes up for their ANNUAL income. People have good years and people have bad years.

    FDR’s reaction to the depression caused and even longer lasting and greater economic crisis. A UCLA study found his policies continued the depression for another 7 years! “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong … somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!” – Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, May 1939. How bad is it when this comment is made in 1939…7 years after FDR has been in office???!!!

    The US economy has produced the highest standard of living and more personal wealth than ANY other society in the history of the world. That’s just a fact. You are confusing “capitalism” with CRONY capitalism we have now, in which government chooses economic winners and losers. Elon Musk is a perfect example. Tesla motors sells are crap, but their stock price is great! Why? $5 billion in government subsidies.

    The government doesn’t create jobs. Government policy can stimulate people to create jobs. There isn’t a SINGLE THING the 0bama administration has done to make me want to put my money out there and start a business…not one.

    Why? because there is no end to the greed that government has for your money. Financially successful people don’t have to depend on government.

    • Derf says:

      You could start a company making Obama phones and sell them to the government at a high price and get some of your tax dollars back, and some of mine and some of everyone else’s (at least those who pay taxes).

    • Jim R says:

      Lancer
      You missing the point about the failure of capitalism , it’s the fact that we have such a ongoing poverty problem in this country, while the 1% have increased their wealth dramatically. They accomplished this by their trade deals and buying the political system which enables them to pass laws that benefit themselves at the expense of the rest of us. The only thing that matters to capitalists is profits and sharing the wealth with those that grew those profits for them was what gave this country it’s great middle class. Your comment that the Government doesn’t create jobs is correct, It destroys them as the coming TPP trade deal will do. When the capitalist system run out of people and resources to exploit it will collapse. Meanwhile what’s left of the middle class will continue bitching about the poor and unemployed being too lazy to get one of those non-existing jobs. That’s what class warfare is all about, turning the people against each other.

  5. Jim R says:

    To clarify the meaning of sharing the wealth in the comment above, it was the organizing efforts of unions that forced the capitalists to share the profits with workers, read the history of the labor movement and you will understand how much blood was shed to get any concessions from the business owners.

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