The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers indicate that our national unemployment and workforce participation rate was essentially flat for May. The May unemployment rate was 7.6% nationally versus 7.5% in April. The Civilian Workforce Participation Rate was 63.5% of eligible workers over 16 years old versus 63.6% in April.
A recent study by Sage Software of its small business customers indicates that economic uncertainty and weak demand for its products/services are the primary reasons that companies don’t plan to hire more people this year.
As in prior months, the gains in employment went disproportionately to older workers. According to the Center for Economic Priorities Jobs Byte report, “Employment of workers of age 55 accounted for 203,000 of the 319,000 gain in employment reported for May. Over the last year they have accounted for 1,205,000 of the 1,596,000 reported rise in employment. Since employment bottomed out in December of 2009, older workers have gotten 4,205,000 of the 5,673,000 growth in employment or 74.1%.
The long term declining Civilian Workforce Participation Rate, combined with the older work gains, suggest a worrying trend for younger job seekers.