Economy Adds 157,000 Jobs in May

June 1, 2007 (Jobs Byte)

Economy Adds 157,000 Jobs in May

Jobs Byte by Dean Baker

For Immediate Release: June 1, 2007

Contact: Alan Barber, 202-293-5380 x115

The household survey shows a 14,000 drop in employment in 2007.

The establishment survey showed the economy adding 157,000 jobs in May, somewhat more than had generally been predicted. The household survey showed the unemployment rate holding steady at 4.5 percent, but it showed other evidence of a weakening labor market.

Monthly data are always erratic, so when the employment to population ratio (EPOP) fell from 63.3 percent in March to 63.0 percent in April, it could be dismissed as a fluke. However, the EPOP remained at 63.0 percent in May, indicating that the drop was real. At this level, the EPOP is 1.7 percentage points below the peak hit in April of 2000. In fact, it is much closer to the 62.0 percent EPOP at trough of the downturn in September of 2003.

EPOPs have edged down for most demographic groups, but the sharpest decline has been for black teens. Their EPOP was just 21.5 percent in May. This compares with a cyclical peak of 25.9 percent in October. The current EPOP for black teens is almost one-third below peaks of more than 31.0 percent reached in 2000. There appears to be a falloff in the EPOP for Hispanics, with 64.6 percent rate reported for May - more than a full percentage point below the 65.8 percent rate reported for December.