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Economic News Release
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Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this news release is embargoed until	       USDL-21-0980
8:30 a.m. (ET) Friday, June 4, 2021

Technical information: 
 Household data:	cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
 Establishment data:	cesinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:		(202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov

	
			THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- MAY 2021


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 559,000 in May, and the unemployment rate 
declined by 0.3 percentage point to 5.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, in public and 
private education, and in health care and social assistance.

This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey
measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics. The
establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry. For
more information about the concepts and statistical methodology used in these two surveys,
see the Technical Note.

Household Survey Data

In May, the unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 5.8 percent, and the 
number of unemployed persons fell by 496,000 to 9.3 million. These measures are down
considerably from their recent highs in April 2020 but remain well above their levels 
prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively, 
in February 2020). (See table A-1. See the box note at the end of this news release for 
more information about how the household survey and its measures were affected by the 
coronavirus pandemic.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates declined in May for teenagers (9.6
percent), Whites (5.1 percent), and Hispanics (7.3 percent). The jobless rates for adult 
men (5.9 percent), adult women (5.4 percent), Blacks (9.1 percent), and Asians (5.5
percent) showed little change in May. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

Among the unemployed, the number of persons on temporary layoff declined by 291,000 to 1.8
million in May. This measure is down considerably from the recent high of 18.0 million in
April 2020 but is 1.1 million higher than in February 2020. The number of permanent job 
losers decreased by 295,000 to 3.2 million in May but is 1.9 million higher than in 
February 2020. (See table A-11.)

In May, the number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks declined by 391,000 to 2.0 
million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined
by 431,000 to 3.8 million in May but is 2.6 million higher than in February 2020. These 
long-term unemployed accounted for 40.9 percent of the total unemployed in May. 
(See table A-12.)

The labor force participation rate was little changed at 61.6 percent in May and has 
remained within a narrow range of 61.4 percent to 61.7 percent since June 2020. The 
participation rate is 1.7 percentage points lower than in February 2020. The employment-
population ratio, at 58.0 percent, was also little changed in May but is up by 0.6 
percentage point since December 2020. However, this measure is 3.1 percentage points below
its February 2020 level. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons was essentially unchanged at
5.3 million in May but is 873,000 higher than in February 2020. These individuals, who 
would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had 
been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. (See table A-8.)

In May, the number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was 
essentially unchanged over the month at 6.6 million but is up by 1.6 million since
February 2020. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not
actively looking for work during the last 4 weeks or were unavailable to take a job. 
(See table A-1.)

Among those not in the labor force who currently want a job, the number of persons 
marginally attached to the labor force, at 2.0 million, changed little in May but is up
by 518,000 since February 2020. These individuals wanted and were available for work and 
had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4
weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally
attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, was 600,000 in May, little 
changed from the previous month but 199,000 higher than in February 2020. (See Summary
table A.)

Household Survey Supplemental Data

In May, 16.6 percent of employed persons teleworked because of the coronavirus pandemic, 
down from 18.3 percent in the prior month. These data refer to employed persons who 
teleworked or worked at home for pay at some point in the last 4 weeks specifically 
because of the pandemic.

In May, 7.9 million persons reported that they had been unable to work because their 
employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic--that is, they did not work at all or
worked fewer hours at some point in the last 4 weeks due to the pandemic. This measure is 
down from 9.4 million in the previous month. Among those who reported in May that they 
were unable to work because of pandemic-related closures or lost business, 9.3 percent 
received at least some pay from their employer for the hours not worked, unchanged from 
the previous month.

Among those not in the labor force in May, 2.5 million persons were prevented from looking
for work due to the pandemic. This measure is down from 2.8 million the month before. (To
be counted as unemployed, by definition, individuals must be either actively looking for 
work or on temporary layoff.)

These supplemental data come from questions added to the household survey beginning in May
2020 to help gauge the effects of the pandemic on the labor market. The data are not 
seasonally adjusted. Tables with estimates from the supplemental questions for all months
are available online at www.bls.gov/cps/effects-of-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic.htm.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 559,000 in May, following increases of 
278,000 in April and 785,000 in March. In May, nonfarm payroll employment is down by 7.6
million, or 5.0 percent, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. Notable job gains
occurred in leisure and hospitality, in public and private education, and in health care 
and social assistance in May. (See table B-1. See the box note at the end of this news 
release for more information about how the establishment survey and its measures were 
affected by the coronavirus pandemic.)

In May, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 292,000, as pandemic-related 
restrictions continued to ease in some parts of the country. Nearly two-thirds of the 
increase was in food services and drinking places (+186,000). Employment also rose in 
amusements, gambling, and recreation (+58,000) and in accommodation (+35,000). Employment
in leisure and hospitality is down by 2.5 million, or 15.0 percent, from its level in 
February 2020.

In May, employment increased in public and private education, reflecting the continued
resumption of in-person learning and other school-related activities in some parts of 
the country. Employment rose by 53,000 in local government education, by 50,000 in state
government education, and by 41,000 in private education. However, employment is down 
from February 2020 levels in local government education (-556,000), state government 
education (-244,000), and private education (-293,000).

Health care and social assistance added 46,000 jobs in May. Employment in health care 
continued to trend up (+23,000), reflecting a gain in ambulatory health care services 
(+22,000). Social assistance added 23,000 jobs over the month, largely in child day care
services (+18,000). Compared with February 2020, employment is down by 508,000 in health
care and by 257,000 in social assistance. 

Employment in information rose by 29,000 over the month but is down by 193,000 since 
February 2020. In May, job gains occurred in motion picture and sound recording 
industries (+14,000). 

Manufacturing employment rose by 23,000 in May. A job gain in motor vehicles and parts
(+25,000) followed a loss in April (-38,000). Employment in manufacturing is down by 
509,000 from its level in February 2020.

Transportation and warehousing added 23,000 jobs in May. Employment increased in 
support activities for transportation (+10,000) and in air transportation (+9,000). 
Since February 2020, employment in transportation and warehousing is down by 100,000. 

Employment in wholesale trade increased by 20,000 in May, mostly in the durable goods
component (+14,000). Employment in wholesale trade is down by 211,000 since February 
2020.

Construction employment edged down in May (-20,000), reflecting a job loss in 
nonresidential specialty trade contractors (-17,000). Employment in construction is 
225,000 lower than in February 2020.

Employment in professional and business services changed little in May (+35,000). Within
the industry, employment continued to trend up in accounting and bookkeeping services 
(+14,000). Employment in temporary help services changed little over the month (+4,000),
following a large decline in April (-116,000). Overall, employment in professional and
business services is down by 708,000 since February 2020.

Employment in retail trade changed little in May (-6,000). Clothing and clothing 
accessories stores added 11,000 jobs. Employment in food and beverage stores decreased
by 26,000, following a decline of 47,000 in April. Employment in retail trade is 411,000
below its February 2020 level.

In May, employment changed little in other major industries, including mining, financial
activities, and other services. 

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 15 
cents to $30.33 in May, following an increase of 21 cents in April. Average hourly 
earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 14 cents to
$25.60 in May, following an increase of 19 cents in April. The data for the last 2 
months suggest that the rising demand for labor associated with the recovery from the 
pandemic may have put upward pressure on wages. However, because average hourly 
earnings vary widely across industries, the large employment fluctuations since 
February 2020 complicate the analysis of recent trends in average hourly earnings. 
(See tables B-3 and B-8.)

In May, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was 34.9 
hours for the third month in a row. In manufacturing, the average workweek rose by 0.1
hour to 40.5 hours, and overtime increased by 0.1 hour to 3.3 hours. The average 
workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls 
declined by 0.1 hour to 34.3 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for March was revised up by 15,000, from
+770,000 to +785,000, and the change for April was revised up by 12,000, from +266,000 to
+278,000. With these revisions, employment in March and April combined is 27,000 higher 
than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from
businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the 
recalculation of seasonal factors.) 

_____________
The Employment Situation for June is scheduled to be released on Friday, July 2, 2021,
at 8:30 a.m. (ET).


 _______________________________________________________________________________________
|											|
|                Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on May 2021 Household and                |
|				Establishment Survey Data               		|
|											|
| Data collection for both surveys was affected by the pandemic. In the establishment 	|
| survey, more data continued to be collected by web than in months prior to the 	|
| pandemic. In the household survey, for the safety of both interviewers and 		|
| respondents, in-person interviews were conducted only when telephone interviews could |
| not be done. 										|
|											|
| As in previous months, some workers affected by the pandemic who should have been 	|
| classified as unemployed on temporary layoff were instead misclassified as employed 	|
| but not at work. However, the share of responses that may have been misclassified was |
| highest in the early months of the pandemic and has been considerably lower in recent |
| months. Since March 2020, BLS has published an estimate of what the unemployment rate |
| might have been had misclassified workers been included among the unemployed. 	|
| Repeating this same approach, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May 2021 	|
| would have been 0.3 percentage point higher than reported. However, this represents 	|
| the upper bound of our estimate of misclassification and probably overstates the size |
| of the misclassification error. 							|
|											|
| More information about the impact of the pandemic on the two surveys is available at  |
| www.bls.gov/covid19/employment-situation-covid19-faq-may-2021.htm.			|
|_______________________________________________________________________________________|



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Last Modified Date: June 04, 2021