U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, dropped to 8.0% in May, a new low since Gallup began measuring employment in 2010, and more than a full percentage-point decline from May 2011. Gallup’s seasonally adjusted number for May is 8.3%, down from 8.6% in April. However, that remains higher than the seasonally adjusted low of 7.9% recorded in January 2012.
The unemployment rate is better, but the conventional wisdom is that the economy, if anything, is stagnant.
Tomorrow the U.S. government’s unemployment’s numbers will be out via the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Despite recent drops in unemployment reported by Gallup and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. employment situation remains fragile. Although Gallup’s unadjusted number is at a new two-year low, the adjusted number remains higher than January’s number, suggesting that the recent declines reported by the BLS may not continue. Further, many demographic groups, including young adults and minorities, continue to be burdened by unemployment rates that are significantly higher than the national average. Substantial improvements will need to be made before these groups feel relief.
Still, the situation is better than it was a year ago, and underemployed workers in the U.S. seem to sense positive momentum and are more optimistic about finding work than they were at the beginning of the year.