While the payrolls report (and wage gains) was an unmitigated disaster for anyone seeking “evidence” of an economic rebound (i.e., the Federal Reserve), there was some good news in the Unemployment rate which declined from 4.4% to 4.3%, the lowest going back to 2001.
There is just one problem with the above “silver lining”: the unemployment rate declined for all the wrong reasons, because contrary to expectations, the Household Survey reported that the number of employed Americans actually declined by 233K to 152.923 million, the lowest going back to February.
So how could the unemployment rate decline as the number of employed Americans tumbled? Simple: the labor force plunged, with the BLS reporting that the total labor force declined by 429,000 Americans in the month of May. This was the result of a whopping 608,000 American exiting, as the number of people not in the labor force soared to 94.983 million, up from 94.375 million in April.
As a result, the labor participation rate tumbled once again, sliding to 62.7%, the lowest print since 2016.
In sum, between the huge payrolls miss and downward revisions, the disappointing wage growth, and the droves of people leaving the labor force, this may have been one of the ugliest jobs reports in recent years.