The Economy: On the One Hand…

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its Employment Situation Summary for May and the economy added 217 thousand jobs in May. As the Washington Post reports:

The strong report, which was released Friday, marks the fourth consecutive month that the country has added more than 200,000 jobs — a key benchmark for a healthy economy. The national unemployment rate held steady at 6.3 percent.


May’s job gains also mean the country has recaptured all the jobs lost during the recession, and employment is now at an all-time high of 138.4 million people.

On the other hand…

economists were quick to point out that the nation’s population has also grown. The share of people who have a job remains smaller than when the recession started in 2007. An analysis by the liberal Economic Policy Institute found that 7.1 million more positions need to be created to fill that gap.

ZeroHedge has a nice graphic that reflects the current situation and asks a simple question: “Is the US worker’s cup half full or half empty?

May jobs breakdown

I was struck this past May when I asked my graduating seniors about their plans post-graduation. The responses, rank ordered: (1) moving home or in with friends/siblings in the hope that something will happen; (2) moving home and then off to graduate or law school; (3) unpaid internship; and (4) job (and this category included a gig on an organic farm in the Northwest). In contrast, before the collapse almost all of my seniors who were not going on to grad school had jobs locked up, the best ones having been hired months before graduation. Most of my recently graduated students seem to believe that the glass is half empty…at the very least.

One thought on “The Economy: On the One Hand…

  1. And what’s the difference between “unemployed” and “not in labor force”? As far as the government’s concerned, “unemployed” is “getting unemployment benefits” and they’ve restricted who can be in that classification by disallowing it to substitute teachers, “self-employed” in a slump, and other folk who don’t have a regular employer, as well as kicking them off the list if they run out of jobs to apply to.

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