With the uproar over the Bergdahl swap, you may have missed Friday’s job report for May.
Jobs numbers released by The Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday morning were better than what economists were predicting, leading the markets to pick up steam in early trading.
Non-farm payrolls added 217,000 jobs in May, slightly above the 215,000 that economists were expecting. The unemployment rate, which is drawn from a different survey of households, remained unchanged at 6.3% and is 0.1% better than the 6.4% consensus.
The labor force participation rate also remained unchanged from the 62.8% rate reported for April, the lowest rate in decades. The BLS said Friday that the participation rate has shown no clear trend since this past October but is down by 0.6% over the year.
April’s employment numbers were revised down to 282,000 jobs added from 288,000. March payroll figures were not revised, remaining at 203,000 non-farm jobs added. Total employment gains those months were therefore 6,000 lower than the BLS — a division of the Department of Labor – previously reported. Job growth averaged 197,000 in the prior 12 months.
Ron Sanchez, executive vice president and chief investment officer at Fiduciary Trust (a Franklin Templeton company) said in a phone interview Friday that while not as robust as many economists would like to see, the results are positive because of the stability and consistency they show in the labor market.
That labor force participation rate is the lowest in 36 years and hasn’t budged in three months. Despite the net gain in jobs, it appears that the number of long-term unemployed and discouraged workers remains unchanged.
Democrats, who, let’s face it, need some cheering up these days, are taking no pleasure in the jobs report. That’s because about half the country still thinks we’re in a recession. Even though the economy continues to grow — glacially, and fitfully — huge swaths of the country are not seeing any noticeable improvement.
What does that mean for Democrat prospects in the midterms?