The May jobs report shows that the U.S. economy added only 69,000 jobs last month, far below expectations to say the least. Unemployment rose to 8.2 percent.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also revealed that its job estimates for previous months were too high. In April the economy actually added 77,000 fewer jobs than the 115,000 previously believed. March created 143,000 not 154,000.
The construction sector lost 28,000 jobs last month. Construction jobs now make up just 4.1 percent of all employment, the lowest level since 1946. There hasn’t been any new construction jobs added, on net, since the beginning of last year.
Meanwhile, the number of long-term unemployed, those out of the job for 27 weeks or more, rose from 5.1 million to 5.4 million in May.
In the past four months, the economy has added on average 137,000 jobs per month. At that rate, according to this calculator from the Hamilton Project, we won’t get back to full employment until 2025.
From 1947 until 2010 the average quarterly U.S. GDP growth was 3.3%, in 2011 it was only 1.7%, a full two years into the Obama “recovery”.
According to Gallup’s mid-month reading of the U.S. unemployment rate, the percentage of Americans without work is up from 8.6% in January to 9.0% in mid-February. That number does not include a seasonal adjustment.
Based on the 30 days ending Feb. 15 Gallup’s mid-month reading serves as an estimate of the U.S. government’s employment report. Gallup found that unemployment decreased to 8.3% in its mid-January report, and suggested that the U.S. unemployment rate the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported for January would decline.
Gallup also finds that 10.0% of U.S. employees in mid-February were forced to settle for part time due to a lack of full-time work, the same as in January.
Underemployment, a combination of the percentage of workers who are unemployed and the percentage working part time but wanting full-time work, is 19.0% in mid-February, up from the 18.7% recorded for January.
In early March the Obama administration will report its February unemployment rate. That rate will be based on mid-month conditions. Gallup’s mid-month unemployment reading, based on data collected through the 15th of the month, normally provides a good basis on which to estimate the direction of unemployment rate for the month.