US adds 175,000 jobs in May, but jobless rate rises to 7.6%

07 June 2013 14:59  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US economy added 175,000 jobs in May, the Labor Department said on Friday, but the unemployment rate edged narrowly higher to 7.6% as more people entered the workforce but were unable to find work.

In its monthly jobs report, the department said that employment rose in professional and business services, food services and pubs and in retail trade.

The addition of 175,000 jobs in May was about the increase that many economists had been expecting, and it was slightly better than the employment growth of 165,000 jobs seen in April.

The jobless rate rose by just 0.1 percentage point in May from the April level of 7.5%.

May’s employment growth also was on a par with past year performance, the department said.  Over the last 12 months, the economy has added an average of 172,000 jobs per month.

The US economy has to generate about 150,000 new jobs each month just to accommodate new job-seekers entering the workforce.  While May’s new jobs total exceeded that level, it didn’t bring down the unemployment rate because more people have returned to the job hunt.

The department said that the nation’s workforce increased by 420,000 people in May to a total of 155.7m.

Economists say that in order to make any significant headway in bringing down the unemployment rate, the nation’s economy would have to generate around 300,000 new jobs each month for multiple consecutive quarters.

The number of unemployed in the US was put at 11.8m for May.

In addition to the unemployed, there are nearly 8m people working at part-time jobs because they cannot find full-time employment.

There are also 2.2m people in a category the department calls “marginally attached to the labour force”, meaning that they want employment but have basically given up looking for a job.  Those marginally attached workers are not counted in the unemployed total.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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