United States Unemployment

United States

United States: Payrolls moderate slightly but total employment finally returns to pre-crisis peak

June 6, 2014

Non-farm payrolls grew by 217,000 in May, which was below April’s downwardly revised increase of 282,000 (previously reported: +288,000). The reading came in slightly above market expectations of a 215,000 increase in payrolls. This is the fourth consecutive month in which payrolls have increased by more than 200,000.

The private sector was almost entirely responsible for new hiring, having added 216,000 jobs in May. The largest gains were registered in education and health services, professional and business services, and in leisure and hospitality. The public sector added a mere 1,000 jobs. The U.S. economy has recovered 8.8 million jobs since February 2010, which marked the trough in the labor market crisis. In fact, the economy now has 98,000 more people employed than at the January 2008 peak.

The unemployment rate—derived from a different survey—stabilized at April’s 6.3% in May. The reading, which is the best result since September 2008, beat market expectations of an increase to 6.4%. The labor force participation rate was also steady at 62.8%.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect unemployment to average 6.4% this year, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast. For 2015, the panel expects the unemployment rate to drop to 5.8%.


Author:, Economist

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United States Unemployment Chart


USA Unemployment May 2014

Note: Month-on-month variation of non-farm payrolls in thousands and unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted in %.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


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