Unemployment virtually unchanged at 9.1%

The unemployment rate stayed essentially unchanged in May at 9.1 percent as the economy added 54,000 jobs.

Professional and business services, health care and mining all saw gains while other private sector industries remained unchanged.  Government employment continued to decline, according to data released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The modest May job growth followed three months of more robust job growth.  The economy averaged an additional 220,000 jobs per month in February, March and April.

In total, 13.9 million Americans remain unemployed while the total workforce remained at 153.7 million.  An additional 2.2 million workers were considered marginally attached to the workforce, meaning they were willing and able to work but had not searched for a job in the past four weeks.  Of those, 822,000 were considered “discouraged” workers who had stopped looking for work because they believe there is no job available for them.

The number of long-term unemployed jumped to 6.2 million in May, up 361,000.  Long-term unemployment is defined as unemployed for more than 27 weeks.

Local government lost 28,000 jobs during the month, continuing the trend that began in September 2008.  During that time, local governments have seen the loss of 446,000 jobs.

Total non-farm payroll for March was revised downward from 221,000 additional jobs to 194,000, and the change for April was revised from an additional 244,000 jobs down to 232,000.


Unemployment virtually unchanged at 9.1%