After a brief rise in unemployment during April 2010, the number is back on its way down, albeit slowly. The official May 2010 unemployment rate came in at 9.7 percent, the same figure seen in March 2010. Despite the relatively small decline, the workforce grew by 431,000 individuals in May.
When looking at the increase in jobs, you might think that 431,000 looks great. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these jobs are temporary. Temporary workers for Census 2010 are responsible for 411,000 of these 431,000 jobs. This is good news for those 411,000 people that needed a job but once their Census work is over, the workplace may not be ready to absorb all of these workers.
So after taking out those numbers, the increase in jobs isn’t something to write home about, unless you were one of those workers that gained employment during the month. To date, there are still 15 million unemployed Americans. Of these 15 million, 6.8 million have been jobless for 27 weeks or longer.
What is disheartening is that there are 2.2 million people considered marginally attached to the market. In other words they want to work but for a variety of reasons they haven’t actively sought employment in the previous four weeks. These 2.2 million people are not part of the 15 million unemployed Americans. Even more frustrating is that half of these Americans are considered discouraged.
A discouraged worker is one that isn’t looking for work because they don’t feel that there are any valid job prospects out there. Half of the marginally attached workers are discouraged. This number is up, significantly, from the same time last year. In the middle of the recession only 291,000 Americans were considered discouraged. Now more than one million Americans have essentially lost hope.