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Unemployment Rate Steady at 6.3%; Data Imply Stabilizing Labor Market

The national unemployment rate stayed at 6.

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: June 6, 2014

The national unemployment rate stayed at 6.3%, and this was a better report than reported by the mainstream business press. The labor force increased by +192,000 and most of those workers found jobs. Employment increased by +145,000. The labor participation rate is still lower than last year, at 62.8%, but it seems to have stabilized. The same is true for the number of workers who consider themselves no longer in the labor force, which held steady at 92 million. That is still +2.25 million more than last year, but it did not worsen. Total employment has only now reached levels that are higher than it was in Spring 2008; assuming a population growth rate of just under 1%, employment should be about 7 million workers higher than it is today to be at the equivalent level. May 2014 commercial printing employment decreased by 1100 workers, and is down by 1800 workers since May 2013. That is about a -1.8% decrease compared to last year. That does not bode well for May printing sales, which we expect to be about -$200 million less than 2013 for the month. May has become the best printing month of the year, according to the Commerce Department. The bright spot in employment continues to be in advertising agencies, especially in public relations employment.  Since last year, PR employment is up more than 5%, and that does not include freelance workers. Graphic design employment was basically flat in April compared to last year.  (click chart to enlarge) employment table 060614  

Dr. Joe Webb is one of the graphic arts industry's best-known consultants, forecasters, and commentators. He is the director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.



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