Sunday, July 10, 2011

Data for the Classroom: US Unemployment Rises in June

 U.S. job growth slowed again in June. Although total payroll jobs increased for the ninth straight month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a disappointing total increase of just 18,000. At the same time, the May figure was revised down from 54,000 new jobs to just 25,000. An increase of 57,000 private nonfarm jobs was offset by a loss of 39,000 government jobs. Jobs decreased at all levels of government, federal, state and local.

The unemployment rate, based on a separate survey of households, edged up by 0.4 percent to 9.2 percent, its highest level since December 2010. The unemployment rate is the ratio of unemployed persons (those looking for work but unable to find it) to the labor force. Unemployed persons increased by 173,000 in the month, and at the same time, 272,000 discouraged workers stopped looking for work and left the labor force. All in all, the household survey showed a net loss of just under 445,000 jobs.

The government also calculates a broader measure of unemployment called U-6. The numerator of U-6 includes unemployed persons, discouraged workers who would like to work but are not looking for jobs because they do not think there are any to be found, and persons working part time who would prefer full-time work, but can't find it. U-6 rose to 16.4 percent in June, its highest rate in half a year.

One final measure of the job situation is the employment-population ratio. The numerator consists of people who are officially employed, while the denominator includes the entire population. The employment to population ratio has decreased not just because of the poor job situation, but also because of the increased number of retired persons in an aging population. The ratio fell to 52.8 percent in June, equaling its lowest level of the recession.

Follow this link to view or download a brief, classroom-ready slideshow with graphs of the June employment situation.

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