Almost half the population is still unemployed, showing how much the US job market needs to heal as a result of the coronavirus.
The employment-to-population ratio – the number of people employed as a percentage of the American adult population – fell to 52.8% in May, which means that 47.2% of Americans are unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As coronavirus closings tore up the labor market, the share of the employed population fell sharply from a recent peak of 61.2% in January, further from a post-war record of 64 , 7% in 2000.
This ratio is a broader overview of the employment situation. It takes into account adults who are not in the labor force and captures those who were discouraged by the prospects of finding a job, while the unemployment rate concerns people who are actively looking for a job.
“To bring the employment-to-population ratio back to its record level of 2000, we need to create 30 million jobs,” said Deutsche Bank chief economist Torsten Slok in an email. Slok included the table in a report to customers.
Investors will look into this week’s June employment report for an update on the pace of the labor market recovery. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect nonagricultural payroll to increase by 3.15 million in June, after a shocking rise of 2.5 million in May, the largest increase in jobs ever recorded in a single month.
At the same time, the unemployment rate is expected to drop to 12.4% this month from 13.3% in May, according to Dow Jones. The unemployment rate does not capture those who have stopped looking for work. The workforce represents approximately 60% of the adult American population.
After the unexpected decline in May, signs of a slowing improvement in the labor market were observed, fears of a resurgence of the coronavirus having intensified in recent weeks. The number of Americans filing for unemployment has risen higher than expected in the past two consecutive weeks.
“Right now, the economic recovery is being driven by millions upon millions of unemployed Americans and [who] just didn’t get it, “said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG Union Bank in a note.” The massive job losses mean that the economy is not out of the woods yet. “
States, including Texas and Florida, have suspended plans to reopen amid a record peak in coronavirus cases. The number of new daily cases of Covid-19 across the country has jumped 42% in the past week to an average of around 38,200 on Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The June employment report is released at 8:30 a.m.ET Thursday.
– Nate Rattner of CNBC contributed to this story.
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