Driven largely by a flood of new workers entering the labor force, the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent today as the nation’s employers reported creating just 175,000 jobs.
Almost 320,000 more Americans reported having jobs in May than the previous month, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics survey of American households. But 400,000 Americans also entered the workforce, thus driving up the unemployment rate.
Even with the flood of new workers, the overall workforce participation rate held steady at 63.4 percent, still a generational low. If the labor force participation rate were the same today as it was before President Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 11.4 percent.
While two million jobs have been created since Obama became president, there are still 2.4 million fewer jobs today than before the recession began.
The private sector accounted for all of the job creation in May, creating 178,000 jobs compared to 3,000 jobs lost in the public sector, according to the government’s survey of the nation’s employers.
There is no evidence that the federal spending sequester drove the government job losses however. The U.S. Postal Service has been steadily shedding jobs for decades and it shed another 4,000 jobs last month. Take out the USPS, and the public sector actually added 1,000 jobs in May.