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US unemployment in May up to 9.1%; CA down to 11.7%

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report for May 2011 came out June 3, and the California Employment Development Department report for May 2011 came out today. As usual, the unemployment rates, by themselves, do not tell the whole story.  Nationally, the unemployment rate increased slightly, from 9.0% in April to 9.1% in May. “Job gains continued in professional and business services, healthcare, and mining. Employment levels in other major private-sector industries were little changed, and local government employment continued to decline.” In April, in California, the unemployment rate was 11.8% (adjusted downward slightly from the initially-reported 11.9%).

For the U.S. as a whole, in May:

“The number of unemployed persons (13.9 million) and the unemployment rate (9.1 percent) were essentially unchanged in May. The labor force, at 153.7 million, was little changed over the month.”

“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (8.9 percent), adult women (8.0 percent), teenagers (24.2 percent), whites (8.0 percent), blacks (16.2 percent), and Hispanics (11.9 percent) showed little or no change in May. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.0 percent, not seasonally adjusted.”

“The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged in May at 8.5 million.” “In May, 2.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, about the same as a year earlier.” “Among the marginally attached, there were 822,000 discouraged workers in May, a decrease of 261,000 from a year earlier.” (Data were not seasonally adjusted.) “The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in May had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.”

Changes seen in employment in various job categories follow:

“Employment in professional and business services continued to increase in May (+44,000). Notable job gains occurred in accounting and bookkeeping services (+18,000) and in computer systems design and related services (+8,000). Employment in temporary help services was little changed.

Health care employment continued to expand in May (+17,000). Employment in the industry had risen by an average of 24,000 per month over the prior 12 months.

Mining added 7,000 jobs in May. Employment in mining has risen by 115,000 since a recent low point in October 2009.

Employment in manufacturing changed little in May (-5,000). Job gains in fabricated metal products and in machinery were offset by losses in transportation equipment, paper and paper products, and printing and related support activities. The manufacturing industry added 243,000 jobs from a recent low point in December 2009 through April 2011.

Construction employment was essentially unchanged in May. Employment in the industry has shown little movement on net since early 2010, after having fallen sharply during the 2007-09 period.

Employment in local government continued to decline over the month (-28,000). Local government has lost 446,000 jobs since an employment peak in September 2008.

Employment in other major industries, including retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality, changed little in May.”

As for California, a year ago, in May 2010, the unemployment rate had DECREASED to 12.4%. The year-over-year change, from May 2011 to May 2011, showed an increase of 87,500 jobs. However, in May 2011, nonfarm jobs in California totaled 14,031,700, a DECLINE of 29,200 jobs over the month! As for the UNEMPLOYED people: “The number of people unemployed in California was 2,117,000 – down by 24,000 over the month, and down by 134,000 compared with May of last year.”

California HAD experienced five straight months of job growth, from October through February. Some analysts say that the drop in unemployment from 11.8% to 11.7% MAY reflect discouraged workers that have left the state to look for work. A map of California’s unemployment rates, by county, is here.

According to the above LA Times article:

Only Nevada has higher unemployment than California.

We’re “number 2!” :-)

Also in California, home sales statewide fell 13.3% last month from a year earlier, and home values dropped by 10.4%.

There were bright spots in the California report as well, especially for technology jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Tech companies in the Bay Area are on a hiring binge, helping keep the unemployment rate in the San Francisco area to 8.1%. The San Francisco area added a net 2,600 jobs in May, while the San Jose-Santa Clara statistical area added 2,100. Employment in the information sector has grown 7.1% in just a year.

“Seven categories (construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; information; professional and business services; educational and health services; and leisure and hospitality) posted job gains over the year, adding 189,800 jobs. Educational and health services posted the largest gain on a numerical basis, adding 43,300 jobs (up 2.4 percent). Information posted the largest gain on a percentage basis, up by 7.1 percent (an increase of 30,100 jobs).

Four categories (mining and logging; financial activities; other services; and government) posted job declines over the year, down 102,300 jobs. Government posted the largest decline on both a numerical and percentage basis, down by 95,300 jobs (a decrease of 3.8 percent).

Some 19 California counties had unemployment rates of 15.0% or greater in May, with Imperial County number 1 at 27.7%.

-Bill at

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