The recently released jobs report for May 2013 signifies the “ongoing slog” in the U.S. labor market, economists say.
According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report (http://bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm), 175,000 nonfarm jobs were added to the economy last month. However, the number of unemployed persons, 11.8 million, and the unemployment rate, 7.6 percent, were essentially unchanged.
As usual, the jobless rate among African Americans was significantly higher than that of other racial groups. The Black unemployment rate rose from 13.2 to 13.5 percent. Comparatively, jobless rates among other groups were somewhat low, with Whites at 6.7 percent, Hispanics at 9.1 percent, and Asians at 4.3 percent.
Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute, said a look at another recent report, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm), reveals some answers.
“In today’s economy, unemployed workers far outnumber job openings in every sector,” she said in an analysis posted on their website. “This demonstrates that the main problem in the labor market is a broad-based lack of demand for workers—and not, as is often claimed, available workers lacking the skills needed for the sectors with job openings.”
If this meager job demand—and the lagging consumer demand that is driving the labor trends—continues, it would take more than six years to return to the prerecession unemployment rate, Shierholz said.
The U.S. economy would need to create more than 300,000 jobs per month to get to full employment by May 2016, the economist said. But, “at the job growth rate of the last year, we will still have a deficit of 4.6 million jobs in May 2016,” she predicted.
Congressional leaders called on their colleagues to put aside politics and act on the ongoing labor crisis.
“Members of Congress must work together on solutions that restore confidence in our economy and that create jobs, without forcing struggling families to bear the burden of our inability to cross party lines,” Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio) said in a statement. “This includes investing in our communities through workforce development and in transportation and infrastructure projects, while preserving the programs that help unemployed individuals make ends meet each day.”
“It is past time for Congress to end its political posturing,” she added. “We must come to the table and agree on a responsible budget that restores faith in our economy and improves our fiscal future. The American people need and deserve more.”