May 2013 Job Growth Report

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics today released their preliminary estimate for job growth in May 2013, reporting a gain of 175,000 net new jobs. This contrasts to a now revised April 2013 gain of 149,000 (all on a seasonally-adjusted basis). The good news is that job growth is exceeding the required 120,000 to 140,000 new jobs needed each month due to the growing workforce. The bad news is that the U.S. still lags the peak employment level of 138.1 million reached in January 2008 with 2.42 million fewer jobs today.

Job growth in May was seen in professional and business services (+57,000), food services and drinking places (+38,000), retail trade (+28,000) and health care (+11,000).Federal employment fell in May by 14,000.

To put job growth (decline) numbers in perspective, the following table details the average monthly job creation by year since 1990. For 2013 they date from January 2013 through May 2013. Since 1990, the average monthly job gain was 95,000 per month. Realize, however, that a population increase of 95,000 in December 1990, given a smaller aggregate workforce, equates to an annualized increase of 1.045 percent, while that same number of new jobs today is 0.84 percent.


The following table illustrates the net job change per month since 2009.  While not at all robust in gains, at they are gains instead of loses.


The next graph shows the total number of U.S. jobs with recessionary periods highlighted as yellow bars.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported an unemployment rate as of May 2013 of 7.6 percent with 11.8 million people looking for work.  But this is a meaningless statistic as it ignores those individuals, that have yet to retire, had a job, became unemployed and remain unemployed today.  These individuals are classified as Not in the Labor Force.

Since January 1, 2008, an additional 10.47 million individuals that had a job in the past have been added to the No Longer in the Work Force list.   So in essence the true number of unemployed now tallies 22.3 million people, making the actual unemployment in the 14 percent range.


This are improving albeit at a snail’s pace.  And that is positive news.

But given the almost $1 trillion in stimulus, everyone expected better results today.

Yep—that glass is one-third full.


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