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Saturday, June 11, 2011

How Many People are Looking for Jobs? May-June 2011

We don't completely know how many people are looking for jobs altogether in May 2011.

(If you want to know how many people are employed right now... How many people have jobs.. check down at the bottom of this article.)

We know how many people are officially unemployed, and to be counted as officially unemployed, a person needs to be actively looking for work, but we don't know how many people who are working elsewhere want to switch jobs and are looking for work elsewhere.  That's why we can't really answer the question:  How many are looking for work?  
Update 1/7/2012:  How Many People Are Looking for Jobs in 2011?
Here are the numbers of people who are unemployed:

  • 13,914,000 officially unemployed and actively looking for work in May 2011 (vs. 13,747,000 in April).
  • 8,548,000 working part-time but wanting full-time work (vs. 8,600,000 in April).
  • 6,227,000 who "want work" but haven't actively looked in the past 4 weeks (vs. 6,539,000 in April).

That adds up to 28,689,000 who are the "alternate" number of unemployed (vs. 28,886,000 in April) .

When do we know what the employment situation looks like for June?

Weekly unemployment insurance claims, which are published every Thursday morning, often given an idea of what is happening with unemployment, but no "official" numbers.  For "official" unemployment and jobs numbers, we have to wait until the first Friday morning of the next month.  Both Gallup and ADP, a payroll processor, release estimates before the official Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers.

Why did the official number of unemployed go up while the total alternate number of unemployed went down?

Yes, that certainly did happen.  Notice that the alternate number of unemployed came down by 200,000 in May, but the "official" number of unemployed went up by about 150,000.

Two big reasons:  

  • There are about 50,000 fewer people who are working part-time but want full-time work.  It really does appear that many part-time jobs turned into full-time jobs in May.
  • 150,000 fewer people "want work" but aren't actively looking, almost the same number of people who were added to the "actively looking" number.  So we can surmise that about 150,000 people who were sitting on the sidelines and not actively looking for work have jumped into the job market.
Both of these numbers are good things for the job market.  Now we shall have to see if those markers continue to look positive.

How many people have jobs right now?  How many people are employed?

In the United States in May 2011, 140,028,000 people are reporting themselves as employed.  This is a non-seasonally adjusted number.  It is equivalent to the actual number of people working.  The seasonally adjusted number of people working in May 2011 is 139,779,000.  It's very safe to say that 140,000,000 people are working right now.  (See How the Unemployment Rate is Calculated for more on seasonal and non-seasonal adjustments.) 

Of those 140,000,000 people, 27,000,000 people are working part-time.  Of the part-timers, about 8,500,000 would prefer full-time work but can't find full-time work.  So 113,000,000 people are working full-time in May 2011.    

How many jobs right now?

The total number of nonfarm payroll jobs in May 2011 is 131,043,000 in seasonally adjusted numbers.  The total number of nonfarm payroll jobs in "real" unadjusted numbers is 131,753,000 in May 2011.

The number of private payroll jobs in May 2011 is 108,916,000 in seasonally adjusted numbers.  The number of private payroll jobs in "real" adjusted numbers is 109,203,000.  

The number of government jobs (federal, state, and local) in May 2011 is 22,127,000 in seasonally adjusted numbers.  The number of government jobs in "real" adjusted numbers is 22,550,000. 

All of my numbers are based on BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) numbers.   

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