Government Employed 92,000 Additional People in May

By Elizabeth Harrington | June 7, 2013 | 9:17am EDT

A sign on the back of a truck advertises job openings at a truck stop Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Atlanta. (David Goldman/AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – The unemployment rate for government workers rose for the first time since January, standing at 3.8 percent in May, up from 3.3 percent in April. But at the same time, the total number of government workers in the United States increased by 92,000.

There were 20,361,000 total government workers in May, up from 20,269,000 in April.

The increase in government workers happened at the state and local level, not the federal level. Federal government payrolls actually declined by 14,000 in May.

“Over the past 3 months, federal government employment has decreased by 45,000,” BLS said.

In July 2012, the unemployment rate for government workers was as high as 5.7 percent, according to the BLS.  The rate has generally declined since then.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics counts someone as a government worker if they are not in the military and they are currently employed by any level of government—local, state or federal—or they are unemployed, they are looking for work, and their last job was for any level of government.

The overall national unemployment rate increased 0.1 percent in May to 7.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of Americans “not in the labor force” declined for the second month in a row in May, however, the 89,705,000 who were not in the labor force in May was still enough to fill every Major League Baseball stadium simultaneously, 69 times.

The 30 MLB stadiums have a total capacity of 1,299,271.  In other words, the 89,705,000 Americans not in the labor force would fill the stadiums 69 times over, with each venue experiencing a sellout crowd at the same time.

After hitting a record high of 89,967,000 in March, the number of Americans not in the labor force declined in April to 89,936,000. April’s decline was the first time since December.

Since February 2009, the first full month of Obama’s presidency, 9,318,000 people have left the labor force.  There were 80,387,000 Americans not working that month, compared with 89,705,000 not working or looking today, according to the latest economic release from BLS.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) labels people who are not employed and have not actually sought a job in the past four weeks as “not in the labor force." That includes both people who have retired and those who have simply given up looking for work.

Black Unemployment Rises

In May, unemployment for African-Americans, teenagers and adult men were higher.  The rate for African-Americans rose 0.3 percent, now standing at 13.5 percent in May, up from 13.2 percent.

In addition, there were 11,599,000 African-Americans not in the labor force in May.

Unemployment for adult men rose from 7.1 percent to 7.2 percent, while the unemployment rate for teenagers rose from 24.1 percent to 24.5 percent in May.

Unemployment for women improved to 6.5 percent, down from 6.7 percent in April.

Government Unemployment Rate Rises

The unemployment rate for government workers rose for the first time since January, standing at 3.8 percent in May, up from 3.3 percent in April.  Federal government payrolls declined by 14,000 in May.

“Over the past 3 months, federal government employment has decreased by 45,000,” BLS said.

The total number of people employed by federal, state and local governments, however, increased by 92,000.  There were 20,361,000 total government workers in May, up from 20,269,000 in April.

The rate had dropped a half percentage point since February.  In May there were 20,361,000 total government workers in the U.S.

In July 2012, the unemployment rate for government workers was as high as 5.7 percent, according to the BLS, and the rate had been in a steady decline since.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics counts someone as a government worker if they are not in the military and they are currently employed by any level of government—local, state or federal—or they are unemployed, they are looking for work, and their last job was for any level of government.

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