Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release
Last Modified Date: June 03, 2011
Advance copies of this statement are made available to the press
under lock-up conditions with the explicit understanding that the
data are embargoed until 8:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Friday, June 3, 2011
In May, nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+54,000),
following increases that averaged 220,000 in the prior 3 months.
The unemployment rate was essentially unchanged, at 9.1 percent,
in May. Employment in the private sector was up by 83,000,
compared with an average monthly gain of 244,000 in the prior 3
months. Since a recent employment low in February 2010, the
private sector has added 2.1 million jobs. After accounting for
job losses in the public sector, total nonfarm payrolls grew by
1.8 million over the period.
Employment in professional and business services continued
to increase in May (+44,000). Job gains occurred in accounting
services and in computer systems design. Temporary help
employment remained essentially unchanged. Health care added
17,000 jobs over the month, compared with an average of 24,000
jobs over the prior 12 months.
Employment growth continued in mining in May (+7,000).
Since a recent low point in October 2009, mining employment has
risen by 115,000, largely driven by gains in support activities
Manufacturing employment showed little change in May
(-5,000). From a recent low point in December 2009 through April
2011, manufacturing added 243,000 jobs. In May, job losses in
transportation equipment, paper, and printing offset gains in
fabricated metals and machinery.
Local government employment decreased by 28,000 over the
month and has declined by 446,000 since the peak in September
Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm
payrolls rose by 6 cents in May to $22.98. Over the past 12
months, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.8 percent. From
April 2010 to April 2011, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban
Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 3.1 percent.
Turning now to measures from our survey of households, the
unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 9.1 percent in
May. There were 13.9 million persons unemployed, little
different from the prior month. The number of those jobless for
27 weeks or more rose to 6.2 million in May and accounted for 4.0
percent of the civilian labor force. The labor force
participation rate has held at 64.2 percent since January.
I would note that the severe weather, including tornadoes
and flooding, in the Midwest and the South did not materially
affect data collection for either the payroll or household
survey. In addition, while there is no question that some
workers in the devastated communities may have been at least
temporarily displaced from their jobs, we found no clear impact
of the disasters on the national employment and unemployment data
for May. In order for these events to have affected payroll
employment, people would have had to have been off work for an
entire pay period and not paid for the time missed. In the
household survey, people who missed work for weather-related
events were counted as employed whether or not they were paid for
the time off. There will be state and local area estimates
available later in the month.
In summary, both nonfarm payroll employment and the
unemployment rate were little changed in May.