January Unemployment Almost “Record Setting”

January Unemployment almost record setting but not for the reason you might think.

On Friday February 2nd the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly employment survey results for the month of January. According to the BLS the Seasonally Adjusted U-3 Unemployment Rate for January is unchanged for the almost record setting 4th month in a row. That’s right from October through January the Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment rate has been 4.1%.  This is a very low level and we really don’t expect it to get too much lower but the interesting part is that the unadjusted U-3 was 3.9% from October through December (resulting in the adjusted rate being 4.1%) but then in January the unadjusted rate jumped to 4.5% (a 0.6% increase) and the adjusted U-3 remained the same at 4.1%. This is because typically January sees an uptick in unemployment as all the seasonal employees get laid-off. So we would expect some sort of uptick in unadjusted unemployment rate. But because the Seasonally Adjusted U3 was unchanged for the month the current increase in the unadjusted U-3 was actually no greater or less than normal.

May Employment and Unemployment Numbers

The U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the May unemployment numbers today. The BLS Commissioner says: Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 138,000 in May, but these are Seasonally Adjusted numbers. So since typically employment increases in May, what he is saying is that 138,000 more jobs than average were created. In unadjusted terms employment was 145.938 […]

Over a Million New Jobs Not 211,000 

Today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Commissioner’s Report says, “Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 211,000 in April, and the unemployment rate, at 4.4 percent, was little changed. Thus far this year, monthly job gains have averaged 185,000, in line with average monthly job growth in 2016. In April, job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, financial activities, and mining.”
But we have to remember that typically employment increases in April. So what the BLS Commissioner is saying is that 211,000 more jobs than average were created. In layman’s terms, unadjusted employment was 144.953 million in March and 145.979 in April for a net gain of 1,026,000 jobs.

Why the U.S. Isn’t at “Full Employment” Yet

BLS posted good employment news and the NY Times and WSJ started talking about “Full Employment” but are we really that close? Probably not!