USA unemployment rate was 5.8% in May 2021

June 04, 2021

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 559,000 in May, as the unemployment rate declined to 0.3 percentage point to 5.8%, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS). BLS mentioned that in May, “job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, in public and private education, and in health care and social assistance.”

Leisure and hospitality employment rose by 292,000 in May 2021. Notably, employment increased in both public and private education, reflecting the continued resumption of in-person learning and other school-related activities in many parts of the country. According to BLS, “Employment rose by 53,000 in local government education, by 50,000 in state government education, and by 41,000 in private education.” While health care and social assistance added 46,000 jobs in May. Employment in information increased by 29,000 over the month. Manufacturing added 23,000, transportation and warehousing (+23,000) and wholesale trade (+20,000). Additionally, employment in construction fell by 20,000 jobs, and employment in professional and business services changed little in May (+35,000). Employment in retail trade decreased by 6000. Meanwhile, employment in other major industries, including mining, financial activities, and other services were little changed in May.

Notably, the number of persons on temporary layoff decreased in May by 291,000 to 1.8 million. In May, the number of permanent job losers fell by 295,000 to 3.2 million. While the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) stood at 3.8 million. Moreover, the number of unemployed persons who were jobless less than 5 weeks in May fell 391,000 to 2.0 million.

The labour force participation rate for May stood at 61.6%, while the employment population ratio stood at 58%. Nonetheless, persons employed part-time for economic reasons was unchanged at 5.3 million in May. Based on BLS assessment, “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.”

In May, a total of 2.0 million individuals were slightly attached to the labour force. These persons were not in the labour force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job in the last year. Of the marginally attached, 600,000 persons were classified as discouraged workers in May, relatively unchanged over the month. These persons are not currently seeking work as they believe no jobs are available for them.


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