June 2015

JUNE 2015 Unemployment Data–the Full Count*

A year earlier, the number of unemployed persons was 9.5 million,
and the jobless rate was 6.1 percent. [BLS]

White      4.6%
African American 9.5%
Hispanic 6.6%
Asian**                           3.8%
Persons with a disability**     9.3%
Men 20 years and over 4.8%
Women 20 years and over 4.8%
Teens (16-19 years) 18.1%
Black teens 31.8%
Officially unemployed 8.3 million

*If the LFPR were at its pre-recession level, the unemployment rate in May 2015 would have been 7.2%  instead of 5.5%. [See “The Labor Force Participation Rate and Its Trajectory”]


Working part-time because can’t find a full-time job: 6.5 million
People who want jobs but are not looking so are not counted in official statistics (of which about 1.9 million** searched for work during the prior 12 months and were available for work during the reference week.)  6.1 million
Total: 20.9 million (12.8% of the labor force)

Source: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf See also Current Employment Statistics–Highlights

**Not seasonally adjusted.
*See Uncommon Sense #4 for an explanation of the unemployment measures, and Is the Decline in the Labor Force Participation Rate During This Recession Permanent?.

In addition, millions more were working full-time, year-round, yet earned less than the official poverty level for a family of four. In 2013, the latest year available, that number was 18.5 million, 17.5 percent of full-time, full-year workers (estimated from Current Population Survey, Bur. of the  Census, 9/2014).

In April 2015, the latest month available, the number of job openings was 5.4 million, “the highest since the series began in December 2000, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. …..The number of job openings increased for total private and was essentially unchanged for government. At the industry level, job openings rose over the month in health care and social assistance but fell in arts, entertainment, and recreation. In the regions, job openings increased in the West.” Job Openings and Labor Turnover SummaryJune 9, 2015.Thus there are 4 job-wanters for each available job.

Unemployment Rate Vastly Understates Labor Market WeaknessEPI

Monthly Change in Non-Farm Employment CBPP

Long-Term Unemployment Rose to Historic Highs cbpp See BLS slides

The Share of the Population with a Job Fell to Levels Not Seen Since the Mid-1980s CBPP

% Decline in employment-population ratio from start of postwar recessions CPEG

Modest Wage Growth, CBPP

Job Losses Far Exceeded Other Recessions CBPP [and recovered more slowly]

GDP Fell Far Below What the Economy Was Capable of ProducingCBPP

+“The number of job openings (not seasonally adjusted) increased over the 12 months ending in April for total nonfarm, total private, and government. Job openings increased over the year for many industries with the largest changes occurring in professional and business services and in health care and social assistance. Job openings decreased over the year in mining and logging and in arts, entertainment, and recreation. The number of job openings increased over the year in all four regions.” http://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm  The JOLTS Technical note describes the numbers: “A job opening requires that: 1) a specific position exists and there is work available for that position, 2) work could start within 30 days whether or not the employer found a suitable candidate, and 3) the employer is actively recruiting from outside the establishment to fill the position. Included are full-time, part-time, permanent, short-term, and seasonal openings.” [my emphasis–jz]