BLS May Report Shows Employment in U.S. Crashing
June 2, 2012 • 9:00AM

The May Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs figures reported "dismal" (Bloomberg's term) numbers, with a mere 69,000 jobs added in the "headline" figure. Downward revisions to the previous two months' figures (-49,000) almost cancelled it out completely.

Read these figures against the backdrop of NAWAPA XXI, which would employ 4 to 6 million workers building NAWAPA and producing its bill of materials: The May BLS report showed a significant drop in construction jobs, -28,000; total construction employment is basically unchanged in 18 months. Construction employment is down 2 million from the level of four years ago; that is, 2 million construction jobs were lost between 2008 and 2011, and there has been zero growth in construction jobs for the last 18 months.

The May BLS report showed a big increase in long-term unemployed: an increase of 300,000, from 5.1 million to 5.4 million, or about 43% of all unemployed. This at a time when extended unemployment benefits are being eliminated in state after state.

State and local government employment reported a drop of -13,000, as bankrupt state governments shed more jobs.

The BLS broader "U6" unemployment figure (with forced-part-time and dropouts within the past year) rose to 23.2 million; when one includes the long-term dropped out and "never entered" workforce, there are approximately 29 million out of work.

There was also a drop in the workweek, the manufacturing workweek, and average weekly wages, which are now up just 1.6% from one year earlier. The BLS actually reported substantial growth of the workforce for this month (+642,000), and "headline" unemployment rose 0.1% to 8.2%.

The BLS report is a real kick in the teeth to Obama and the bought-off economics profession. The consensus was that there would be 150,000 jobs created (vs. 69,000 reported), with low estimates around 130,000. As former Administration economist Jared Bernstein wrote in his blog yesterday, "This is election season. Each jobs report will be a very big deal."

A look at the BLS's "unadjusted" jobs growth figures for the past six months, since November 2011, shows only 600,000 jobs have been created — or 100,000 jobs added month-to-month. Since the labor force should grow at a rate of 140,000 per month, the undoctored, unadjusted BLS figures actually show an additional 40,000 people a month are unemployed, but not reflected in the "adjusted" statistics.

Separately, the Intuit Inc. survey estimated May small-business job creation at only 40,000, their lowest estimate in a year. Intuit also reported that its reading of the average monthly salary for a small-business (<500 employees) employee is $2600, or only $32,000 if fully employed all year — "indicating", says Intuit's report, "that a very substantial proportion of small business employees are working only part-time."

The Labor Department reported unemployment claims rising to 383,000 in week ended 5/30, the four-week average up to 375,000/week.

In a turnout which is typical — not unusual — for advertised jobs, today 20,000 people applied at an auto plant in Montgomery, Alabama, which had 877 openings.