July 2015

JULY 2015 Unemployment Data–the Full Count*


White      4.6%
African American 9.1%
Hispanic 6.8%
Asian**                           4.0%
Persons with a disability**    10.4%
Men 20 years and over 4.8%
Women 20 years and over 4.9%
Teens (16-19 years) 16.2%
Black teens 28.7%
Officially unemployed 8.3 million

*If the LFPR were at its pre-recession level, the unemployment rate in July 2015 would have been 7.3%  instead of 5.3%. [See “The Labor Force Participation Rate and Its Trajectory”]


Working part-time because can’t find a full-time job: 6.3 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: 20.7 million (12.7% 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 May 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 was little changed for total private and government. Job openings increased in nondurable goods manufacturing and in state and local government. Job openings were little changed in all four regions.” Job Openings and Labor Turnover SummaryJuly 7, 2015.Thus there are nearly 4 job-wanters for each available job.

Unemployment Rate Vastly Understates Labor Market Weakness EPI

Chartbook: The Legacy of the Great Recession (CBPP)

See BLS slides

+“The number of job openings (not seasonally adjusted) increased over the 12 months ending in May for total nonfarm, total private, and government. Job openings rose over the year for many industries with the largest increases occurring in retail trade, professional and business services, and 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 the Sourth, Midwest, and West regions.”

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]