U.S. employment number and jobless rate both drop in June; TC area posts lowest jobless rate for May

The nation’s total employment declined by 125,000 in June, largely because of the layoff of 225,000 temporary U.S. Census workers who had completed their work.

Even so, the nation’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 9.5 percent from 9.7 percent in May, according to this morning’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report. That’s because of the rise in the number of discouraged people no longer considered active in the work force.

The census worker layoffs were partially offset by the addition of 83,000 private sector jobs,

Today’s report does not break out state-by-state numbers, which will be released in a couple of weeks. But through May, Minnesota continued to show a significantly lower unemployment rate, at 7 percent, than the nation as a whole.

The entire Upper Midwest continued to fare better than the nation as a whole through May, according to another BLS report issued earlier in the week. The Twin Cities metro area posted the lowest unemployment rate in the nation among large metropolitan areas at 6.4 percent (not seasonally adjusted). It was one of only three large metro areas with unemployment below 7 percent.

Bismarck, N.D., at 3.1 percent, registered the lowest unemployment rate nationwide among all 372 metropolitan statistical areas, followed by Fargo/Moorhead at 3.5 percent, and Grand Forks/East Grand Forks at 3.8 percent.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Locally, advertising giant Campbell Mithun gave layoff notices to 10 percent of its employees Thursday following the loss of three major client accounts in recent months, according to Kris Olson, spokesperson for the agency. Olson declined to quantify the number of people affected.

Earlier this week, the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that company announcements of future layoffs rose 1.4 percent from May to June as employers revealed plans to cut 39,358 jobs, up from May’s 38,810 announced layoffs. Minnesota fared better than most states in the Challenger report, with 610 announced layoffs in the first six months and down substantially from the 13,991 announced layoffs for all of 2009.

This measure, taken from both official company announcements and news reports, can prefigure job losses months ahead, though it is not directly related to the reported unemployment rate, since forewarned employees can presumably look for a new job.

The trend for the first six months is favorable, as the pace of downsizing has slowed significantly from a year ago, according to Challenger. In the first six months of 2010 employers having announced more than 297,000 layoffs nationwide, 67 percent below the 896,675 layoffs announced in the first half of 2009 and the lowest six-month total since 2000.

Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, June 2008 – June 2010

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Nationally, the expected decline in employment rolls reported today was offset somewhat by a bigger-than-expected drop in the number of unemployed persons to 14.6 million from 15 million in May. (Yesterday Thomson Reuters had reported that a poll of economists predicted the unemployment rate would tick up to 9.8 percent in June, driven by the census worker layoffs.)

This was a somewhat stronger showing than last month, when only 41,0000 private sector jobs were added to 411,000 temporary U.S. Census workers hired in May.

But there is still a significant challenge reflected in this morning’s numbers. Long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and longer) was unchanged at 6.8 million, and represented 45.5 percent of the total unemployed. Involuntary part-time workers, at 8.6 million, was little changed over the month but was down by 525,000 over the past two months. About 2.6 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, an increase of 415,000 from a year earlier and 1.2 million of those were classified as discouraged workers, having given up looking for a job. That number was up by 414,000 from a year earlier.

Nonfarm payroll employment over-the-month change, seasonally adjusted, June 2008 – June 2010

Nonfarm payroll employment over-the-month change, seasonally adjusted, June 2008 - June 2010
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Malcolm Mc Donald on 07/03/2010 - 03:53 pm.

    Where in all of this discussion about employment trends do we discuss the actual numbers? Todate all writing concerns seasonally adjusted numbers. Friday the US Labor Department published the Household survey not seasonally adjusted. To my reading the numbers showed a very large increase in the number employed and a very large increase in the number moving into the workforce. Where and when do we look at actuals?

    Can we concern ourselves so much with adjusted as to miss what is really going on?

    Here in Minnesota we know we face a major shortage in skilled workers yet have an ever increasing number of young people not in school Where can we obtain the needed skilled workers?

    We know that our young people need more than a high school education. When do we discuss what goes on in their heads that keeps them from graduating let alone developing the skills we need?

    Welcome all comments on how we have all young people in school straight through at least two years of technical school or community college.

  2. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 07/07/2010 - 06:51 am.

    I’m inclined to say it would be a deeper point if Democrats and Republicans disagreed about the unemployment rate. The economy is grand compared to two years ago and abysmal compared to twelve years ago. It doesn’t seem particularly a new low in rationalism if partisans choose their series endpoints to confirm bias. If you’d like to poll me, I sense partisanship to be about as brain-softening as usual.

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