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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June 2015 Unemployment Rate, Jobs

This report is outdated.  Jobs and unemployment information for July 2016 can be found HERE!

June 2015 Highlights:

  • +223,000 total new payroll jobs; +223,000 new private sector jobs.  (No increase in the number of government jobs.)  These numbers are slightly less than what the pundits and prognosticators predicted.  (Full-time/part-time breakdown HERE.)
  • The BLS decreased its April and May estimates.  April had been estimated at 221,000 and was revised downwards to 187,000.  May had been estimated at 280,000; that was revised down to 254,000.  Still good numbers, and revisions have generally been going up not down so a few months of downward revisions are fairly meaningless.
  • Unemployment rate decreased a whopping .2% down to 5.3% as the number of unemployed declined to 8.3 million, the lowest it has been since early 2008 when we had a much smaller labor force.
  • Alternate unemployment rate fell from 10.8% down to 10.5%.  That's a big decrease.  We'll have to see which components contributed to the decline.  More on that later.  
  • Labor force participation rate decreased .3%.  The number of people in the labor force decreased by a big 432,000.  This could reflect more people retiring in June (teachers in particular) than was estimated.  We always have people leaving the work force in June as their teaching jobs end, and many retire in June.  But seasonal adjustments are supposed to account for that; sometimes they don't quite hit it.  (See my labor force analysis HERE.)  Many people go a bit crazy when they see the number of people in the labor force decline; but this is a volatile number and needs to be looked at year over year, not month over month.  Year over year, we have about 1.3 million MORE people in the labor force.  

    Remember that there is NO ideal labor force size.
    Actually, inflation-adjusted wages have tended to go up when the labor force participation rate goes down--- Just something to think about if you are one of the many who has been bulldozed by the "Labor force percentage.. .yada, yada, yada..." crowd.  More HERE about the labor force percentage.  
  • The reported number of people employed was essentially the same, a decrease of 56,000, the reported number of people unemployed decreased by 375,000. 
  • The number of people working full-time declined by 349,000 last month, but this is also a volatile number, affected by the number of teachers leaving in June, the number of people getting summer jobs, etc.  This is another number that needs to be looked at year over year, not month over month.  Year over year, we have about 2.8 million MORE people working full-time and 330,000 FEWER people working part-time.  
Since the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 in seasonally adjusted numbers:
  • 12.2 million MORE jobs in total
  • 12.8 million MORE private sector jobs
  • 10.7 million MORE people working
  • 10.5 million MORE people working full-time.
  • 188,000 MORE people working part-time.  
  • (Yes, despite what you may have heard, from the depth of the recession until now, we have many more additional people working full-time vs. people working part-time jobs. When a recession hits, companies generally cut back on full-time workers first.  When companies start hiring again, the number of full-time workers increases.)

Since Bush left office & Obama took office (January 2009) in seasonally adjusted numbers:
  • 7.9 million MORE jobs in total
  • 8.5 million MORE private sector jobs
  • 6.6 million MORE people working
  • 5.2 million MORE people working full-time
  • 1.3 million MORE people working part-time

June 2015 reports: (Notation on the links will be changed to "UPDATED for JUNE" when the updated reports become available.) 

June 2015 Jobs Numbers Preview as of Wednesday night, July 1:

This is one of those rare job reports that are published on a Thursday instead of a Friday, and very early this month due to the July 4th holiday.  The pundits and prognosticators are predicting good jobs numbers for June when the BLS releases that report tomorrow morning, July 2, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.

Due to the holiday, this preview will be short.

1.  Reuters:  Reuters reports a "raft" of upbeat data incluing private jobs data from ADP, increased factory jobs, solid auto sales, and rising construction spending:
According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls likely increased 230,000 in June after a robust 280,000 gain in May. The jobless rate was forecast dipping one-tenth of a percentage point back to a seven-year low of 5.4 percent.

2. ADP: The private payroller ADP estimates that 237,000 more private-sector jobs were created in June 2015.  ADP estimated increases in all sectors, and a reasonably fat increase in manufacturing.

3.  The June Consumer Sentiment index compiled by the University of Michigan  showed a jump from 90.7 in May to 96.1 in June.  
Consumers voiced in the first half of 2015 the largest and most sustained increase in economic optimism since 2004. Just as important, that same record was set by households in the top third of the income distribution as well as by the middle third and those in the bottom third of the income distribution. Moreover, the recent surveys recorded those same records when consumers were asked to evaluate prospects for the national economy, their personal finances, and buying conditions. Consumer spending will remain the driving force of economic growth in 2015. Overall, the data indicate growth in consumer spending of 3.0% in 2015.

 4.  The search engine was much higher than the other pundits:  
Based on the strong gains in new and total job openings on LinkUp’s job search engine in May (which rose 15% and 7% respectively), we are forecasting a net gain of 350,000 jobs in June – well above Bloomberg’s consensus forecast of 234,000 jobs.

5.  Finally, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits AND the number of Americans filing for continuing benefits continue to be very, very low.  You can see more here at the Department of Labor's site.


  1. A record 93,626,000 Americans 16 or older did not participate in the nation’s labor force in June, as the labor force participation rate dropped to 62.6 percent, a 38-year low, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    In June, according to BLS, the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population, consisting of all people 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, hit 250,663,000. Of those, 157,037,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.

    The 157,037,000 who participated in the labor force equaled only 62.6 percent of the 250,663,000 civilian noninstitutional population, the lowest labor force participation rate seen in 38 years. It hasn’t been this low since October 1977 when the participation rate was 62.4 percent.

    Another 93,626,000 did not participate in the labor force. These Americans did not have a job and were not actively trying to find one.

    Of the 157,037,000 who did participate in the labor force, 148,739,000 had a job, and 8,299,000 did not have a job were actively seeking one—making them the nation’s unemployed.

    The 8,299,000 job seekers were 5.3 percent of the 157,037,000 actively participating in the labor force during the month. Thus, the unemployment rate was 5.3 percent which dropped from the 5.5 percent unemployment seen in May.

    The number of employed Americans dropped from 148,795,000 in May to 148,739,000 in June, a decline of 56,000. The number of unemployed Americans also dropped over the month from 8,674,000 in May to 8,299,000 in June, a decline of 375,000.

    1. Hi Mr. Mous... Before I reply, I would like to know the source from which you are copying. And why you thought it was necessary to copy this large passage?

    2. I don't know where this was originally posted, but it was picked up by cns (which is always wrong), Infowars (which is usually even worse), the Free Republic (often a bunch of extreme nuts, etc.), etc. I did a few searches and found the exact text in several places.

      Much of it consists of basic numbers from the BLS, no problem with that, but you can see the highlight of the often-heard refrain "93,626,000 people did not participate in the labor force". I talk about that over and over and over, most recently HERE.

      Highlighting right wing propaganda about the 93 million people, the overwhelming majority of whom are either retired, in school, home with children, disabled, is classic right-wing propaganda, though it has also been taken over by some uber-lefties. I don't mean to belittle the large number of people, either now or years ago, who really do want a job, are looking, and can't find one. But I do get frustrated with people who say they want a job, are able to work, and haven't bothered to look for work... for a year or more! The job market has improved dramatically over the past year.. how can you find a job if you aren't looking?

      But last month only about 6% of those 93 million claimed that they wanted a job AND were actually available to work. And, to reduce this 93 million further, only 2% -- TWO percent, less than 2 million -- have actually LOOKED for work in the past YEAR AND were actually available to work in the last month.

      Let's compare this June with June 2007, the last June before the Crash: In June 2007, 2.3% of those in the overall civilian noninstitutional population were not looking for work but also said they wanted a job. 0.63% (a fraction of a percent) of the civilian noninstitutional population had actually looked for work in the last year and were also available to work. 0.17% claimed they were not looking for work because they were "discouraged". Now in June 2015, 2.6% of those in the overall civilian non-institutional popularion age 16+ were not looking for work but said that they wanted a job, an increase of 0.3% over June 2007. 0.76% of those had actually looked for work in the last year AND were available to work. That's an increase of 0.13% (a fraction of a percent) over June 2007. Discouraged? 0.26% of the non-institutional civilian population claim they aren't looking for work because they are "discouraged". That is an increase of 0.07% over June 2007.

      I'll put all of this together in a separate blog post a little later.

  2. Wow, the economy was really bad in 1977 and our labor participation rate is about as low and as bad as it was in 1977. The wage has been just as terrible too..

    1. We have finally turned a corner on wages in the past year or two and we are now heading back up. Yep, it's taken us three decades to deal with the misery of the Reagan years. We are only back to about 1979 in terms of inflation-adjusted average wages. They peaked in the late 60's and early 70's.

    2. You seem to think that a low labor force participation rate is a bad thing. Why do you think so? Do you not believe that people should be able to retire, young people go to school, parents stay home with their kids? Can you explain in your own words why a low labor force participation rate is a bad thing?

    3. Reporting on the monthly jobs numbers is a little like reporting on Sisyphus. According to Greek mythology, Sisyphus was condemned by the gods to eternally roll a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down again. Similarly, any journalists covering his efforts would have to report a modest gain, only to remind readers of the utterly futile big picture.

      OK, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) reports aren't that bad. But they aren't far off either.

      Last Thursday, for instance, saw 223,000 jobs added to the economy and the unemployment rate dip to 5.3 percent. In fact, we've now seen 57 months of straight job growth — the longest single stretch since World War II.

      And yet, seven years after the Great Recession, we still haven't repaired the economy. To return to the same level of employment we had before the collapse (accounting for population growth), and to do so by the summer of 2017, we need to be adding 246,000 jobs a month. This latest report actually revised May and April's gains downward, so the latest three-month average is 221,000 jobs per month.

      More fundamentally, the two clearest indicators of the health of American jobs are the rates of growth for average hourly earnings and inflation. They signal when employers are facing truly bottom-up pressure to offer workers better deals, because everyone who wants a job can get one. But the rate of average wage growth plummeted after 2008, and has been bouncing around at 2 percent ever since — essentially flatlined. The inflation rate has struggled to even reach 2 percent, the Federal Reserve's explicit target.

      So what's going on? The first clue in the jobs report is the labor force participation rate, which is the percentage of Americans who have a job (out of everyone 16 and over who either has a job or is actively looking for one). That indicator peaked in the boom of the late 1990s at 67 percent. Then it got wobbly after 2001, fell of a cliff after 2008, and has slowly eroded since. For June it was at 62.6 percent, the lowest it's been since the late 1970s.

    4. This is a quote from The Week. Do you have your own opinion about this? It's find to quote somebody else's opinion, but can you tell us why you think this is quote-worthy?

    5. I meant "it's FINE to quote somebody else"

  3. (Cont)
    In fact, it fell from 62.9 percent in May, and that drop pretty much explains June's seemingly positive fall in the unemployment rate to 5.3 percent. (The rate is calculated as a share of the labor force. So if the labor force shrinks but unemployment stays steady, the unemployment rate still goes down.)

    Now, labor force participation is still higher than it was mid-century, so maybe this isn't such a big deal? Well, you see that big run-up in labor force participation after 1960? That's the entrance of women into the work world. Between 1960 and 1980, we went through a cultural shift that significantly expanded the pool of labor available in the job market.

    There's nothing wrong with that pool shrinking again, but only if it was something we meant to do. We could have undertaken policies to shrink the work week, or to allow people to retire earlier, or to increase the amount of income they get from the government.

    But we didn't do any of that as a society. Most families have two earners now, but both earners have to work full-time just to keep up with previous living standards. Families with only one earner tend to be poorer these days, both because they have less income and because they can't afford the child care expenses that would free up the second parent to work.

    That late 1990s peak at 67 percent was also the last time wages for workers at every income level rose together. Since we haven't fundamentally altered the structure of our economic policy since then, it's fair to say that peak is what a healthy economy looks like.

    You can see the problem in other measures, too. The U-6 unemployment rate counts the official unemployed, people working part-time but who want to work full-time, and people who have given up looking for jobs. It soared to 17 percent after 2008. Seven years later, it's at 10.5 percent, which is higher than it's been since the early 1990s.

    Or you can look at labor force participation amongst the 55-and-over crowd, which has gone up since 1990. We may have more older people overall, and thus more retirements, which is part of why the headline labor force participation rate is dropping. But the percentage of older people who are sufficiently scared about their future that they want to keep earning has increased.

    Finally, there's the percentage of people between ages 25 and 54 who are employed. That number excludes people who might be students and people who might be retired, so it's really the core of the work force. It's headed up, but it's still well below its pre-2008 peak, which in turn was well below its late 1990s peak.

    One of the crucial things to remember about inequality is that denying Americans work is one of the best ways to drive it up. Inequality stopped rising in the late 1990s because work was plentiful. If someone didn't like the deal an employer was offering, they could just go find another deal.

    But in this new world, jobs for the lower class are far harder to come by, and that loss of bargaining power is cascading up the income ladder. These days, you can get someone with a BA for what you used to pay for someone with a high school degree. And you can get a worker with a mater's degree for what you'd use to pay a worker with a BA. Americans aren't just attached to the economy in a different way from before, they're attached in a fundamentally worse way: one that comes along with lower incomes, more insecurity, and jobs that are just harder to find.

    In other words, this isn't a reshuffling. It's a rot.

  4. Half Of America's 'Missing Workers' Are Prime Working Age

    bout half of America’s missing workers -- those who would work if better opportunities existed but have given up searching for a job -- are of prime working age (25 to 54), according to a recent analysis of the latest federal data by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). That troubling statistic indicates that millions of American workers in the prime of their lives, when they are typically building careers and saving up for retirement, are waiting on the sidelines due to a lack of decent job opportunities, and it provides more evidence that the economy has not truly recovered from the recession.

    “It’s a sign of weak job opportunities,” said Elise Gould, director of health policy research at EPI who contributed to the institute’s missing worker research. “It’s another way of painting the picture that the economy is not the way we want it to be.”

    About 5.9 million Americans were missing from the labor force as of last month, compared to about a quarter of a million just before the recession, according to EPI. Accounting for the discouraged workers would push up unemployment to 9.6 percent versus the current 6.1 percent unemployment rate, estimates EPI.

    According to jobs data released Friday by the Labor Department, 3 percent of Americans are working part time because they can’t find a full-time job or their hours were cut back, 4 percent are unemployed and job searching, 1 percent are unemployed and have stopped looking for a job within the past year and 36 percent don’t want a job, haven’t looked for a job in the past year or can’t work.

    “I’d like to think that the state we’re in is not permanent,” Gould said. “There are a lot of people out there who want to work and are not finding jobs. That is why it’s important to look at an age group where you wouldn’t expect demographics to affect employment.”

    Across nearly every group of Americans, fewer workers are participating in the labor force than they were a decade ago. The employment to population ratio, which shows how many Americans are working relative to the changing population, crashed in 2008 and 2009 and has only slowly crept upward since, regaining only one-third of its pre-recession peak so far.

    “Part of the story could very well be that the types of jobs they’re interested in and the wages they want are just not being offered now,” said Tara Sinclair, economist for and economics professor at George Washington University.

    1. Just a quick comment: Demographics (and social norms as a whole) ALWAYS affect employment.

  5. The above article was posted back in September 2014. Things have gotten a bit better, but we continue to see people in the prime working age group stop looking for work and drop out.

    The economy was pretty bad back in 1977 and I am not surprised that today's labor force participation rate is almost as low as it was back then.

    About the claim that labor force participation rate is low today because the 55+ group is suddenly retiring in an unusally large number is simply false. The labor force participation rate for the 55+ group has actually gone up while the percentage of the prime group that is out of work is at record high.

    Do you know we still have much less full-time jobs than we did back in 2007? If you factor in large population increase since 2007, the picture gets even worse. In addition, the US admits about 1 million immigrants LEGALLY each year, and today's average wage growth year-over-year is much less than, for example, between 2006 to 2007.

    1. Actually, 1977 was a GREAT year for employment. Not only did we add a very large number of jobs, but the unemployment rate declined by 1.4%, the THIRD largest decline since 1950. I was working in 1977, and it was a good time to work, believe me. Jobs were plentiful back then..for all. I actually switched jobs in early 1978 with a 20% raise.

      I'm sure you aren't aware that the largest increase in percent of jobs in any ONE presidential term over the past 45 years was the much-maligned Jimmy Carter's one term. Actually, we should be lucky to have the kind of job growth in 2015 that we had in 1977. 1977 had the SECOND highest percentage of job growth in the past 50 years. (The year with the HIGHEST percentage of job growth in the past 50 years was 1978.)

      So anybody who is disparaging employment growth in 1977 simply does not know what he/she is talking about.

  6. Of course, many jobs were created during the recovery in 1977 after the recession has ended in 1975. When many jobs are lost during the recession, we always have lots of jobs created during the recovery under any presidents except the current one. I just wish the same could be said about this recovery -- there are less full-time jobs today than in 2007.

    I don't know why you are lecturing me about the 1977 economy, and how it is related to today's record low labor participation rate. But since you have made lots of praises about how wonderful the economy was in 1977, you have obviously failed to mention the double-digit inflation coupled with very high interest rates, high unemployment, and slow economic growth. I dont know about you, but I personally don't consider Stagflation to be prosperous to an economy.


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