Friday, July 5, 2024

Jobs in June: Seasonal Worsenings Mostly Offset Elsewhere, with AJSN Showing Latent Demand Up Almost Half a Million

The published projections I saw for this morning's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary was that it would be worse than for May’s data a month ago.  The two estimates of net new nonfarm payroll positions were 190,000 and 200,000, and unemployment might be going up again.  So what happened?

Employment as above, at plus 206,000, was quite close to the predictions.  Seasonally adjusted joblessness had its third straight 0.1% gain, to 4.1%, with the corresponding total of people up 200,000 to 6.8 million.  (We now can ignore when the BLS says something “changed little.”)  Long-term unemployed, for 27 weeks or longer, gained 100,000 to 1.5 million, up 36% from June 2023, with so many people joining the labor force that its participation rate increased, 0.1% to 62.6%.  The measure of how many Americans are actually working, the employment-population ratio, stayed at 60.1%.  The count of those working part-time for economic reasons, or holding onto shorter-hours positions while looking for full-time ones, shed 200,000 to get to 4.2 million.  Average private nonfarm payroll earnings rose 9 cents per hour, close to the inflation rate, to $35.00.

Since May and June have different employment characteristics, the seasonally unadjusted figures did not match the others.  Unemployment that way jumped 0.6% to 4.3%.  The count of those not interested in working lost 637,000 to 93,776,000.  Those employed rose 433,000 to 161,774,000.

The American Job Shortage Number or AJSN, the statistic showing how many additional positions could be quickly filled if all knew they would be easy and routine to get, was up 478,000, as follows:

The share of the AJSN from those officially jobless was 4.3% higher at 37.7%.  Compared with a year earlier, the AJSN grew 504,000, with almost 800,000 more from unemployment partially equalized by, among others, 174,000 from fewer people wanting work but not looking for it for a year or more, and 200,000 fewer from expatriates. 

What patterns can we get from this report?  The new jobs, once again plentiful and nothing to take for granted, went largely to people with statuses other than simple unemployment.  Many more people returned to the labor market, and enough were unsuccessful to bring overall joblessness up.  A goodly number of those without work are not finding it, even after six months away.  Latent demand is not only alive and well but increasing.  Still, June is a tougher month than May, and the smaller, marginal categories show that this was, overall, a good one.  The turtle took a moderate step forward.

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