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Number of unemployed decreased by 496,000 to 9.3 million in May 2021

June 09, 2021

The unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in May 2021, down 0.3 percentage point from April 2021. The number of unemployed people fell by 496,000 to 9.3 million. This is down considerably from the recent high in April 2020 but remains well above the figure of 5.7 million in February 2020.

Number of unemployed by duration of unemployment, January 2019–May 2021
Month Number of unemployed Percent distribution
Total unemployed Less than 5 weeks 5 to 14 weeks 15 to 26 weeks 27 weeks and over Less than 5 weeks 5 to 14 weeks 15 to 26 weeks 27 weeks and over

Jan 2019

6,442,000 2,358,000 2,006,000 892,000 1,260,000 36.2% 30.8% 13.7% 19.3%

Feb 2019

6,128,000 2,236,000 1,730,000 914,000 1,292,000 36.2 28.0 14.8 20.9

Mar 2019

6,201,000 2,171,000 1,795,000 902,000 1,324,000 35.1 29.0 14.6 21.4

Apr 2019

5,995,000 1,986,000 1,847,000 799,000 1,300,000 33.5 31.1 13.5 21.9

May 2019

5,965,000 2,117,000 1,654,000 747,000 1,335,000 36.2 28.3 12.8 22.8

Jun 2019

5,914,000 1,846,000 1,878,000 782,000 1,381,000 31.4 31.9 13.3 23.5

Jul 2019

5,969,000 2,139,000 1,775,000 939,000 1,146,000 35.7 29.6 15.7 19.1

Aug 2019

6,000,000 2,235,000 1,750,000 862,000 1,228,000 36.8 28.8 14.2 20.2

Sep 2019

5,728,000 1,857,000 1,818,000 861,000 1,297,000 31.8 31.2 14.8 22.2

Oct 2019

5,922,000 1,954,000 1,778,000 927,000 1,235,000 33.2 30.2 15.7 21.0

Nov 2019

5,907,000 2,037,000 1,744,000 881,000 1,204,000 34.7 29.7 15.0 20.5

Dec 2019

5,844,000 2,098,000 1,682,000 821,000 1,177,000 36.3 29.1 14.2 20.4

Jan 2020

5,796,000 2,071,000 1,752,000 881,000 1,163,000 35.3 29.9 15.0 19.8

Feb 2020

5,717,000 2,082,000 1,753,000 817,000 1,111,000 36.1 30.4 14.2 19.3

Mar 2020

7,185,000 3,424,000 1,785,000 784,000 1,188,000 47.7 24.9 10.9 16.5

Apr 2020

23,109,000 14,282,000 6,992,000 763,000 1,004,000 62.0 30.3 3.3 4.4

May 2020

20,975,000 3,875,000 14,804,000 997,000 1,203,000 18.6 70.9 4.8 5.8

Jun 2020

17,697,000 2,853,000 11,544,000 1,907,000 1,358,000 16.2 65.4 10.8 7.7

Jul 2020

16,308,000 3,188,000 5,175,000 6,488,000 1,483,000 19.5 31.7 39.7 9.1

Aug 2020

13,542,000 2,312,000 3,213,000 6,536,000 1,593,000 16.9 23.5 47.9 11.7

Sep 2020

12,535,000 2,552,000 2,754,000 4,934,000 2,405,000 20.2 21.8 39.0 19.0

Oct 2020

11,049,000 2,494,000 2,341,000 2,651,000 3,534,000 22.6 21.2 24.1 32.1

Nov 2020

10,728,000 2,455,000 2,404,000 1,875,000 3,929,000 23.0 22.5 17.6 36.8

Dec 2020

10,736,000 2,904,000 2,222,000 1,572,000 3,956,000 27.3 20.9 14.8 37.1

Jan 2021

10,130,000 2,278,000 2,528,000 1,346,000 4,023,000 22.4 24.8 13.2 39.5

Feb 2021

9,972,000 2,185,000 2,254,000 1,407,000 4,148,000 21.9 22.6 14.1 41.5

Mar 2021

9,710,000 2,177,000 1,941,000 1,391,000 4,218,000 22.4 20.0 14.3 43.4

Apr 2021

9,812,000 2,414,000 1,939,000 1,203,000 4,183,000 24.8 19.9 12.4 43.0

May 2021

9,316,000 2,023,000 2,126,000 1,262,000 3,752,000 22.1 23.2 13.8 40.9

Note: Detail for the seasonally adjusted data will not necessarily sum to total because of the independent seasonal adjustment of the duration groups.

In May 2021, the number of newly unemployed (those unemployed for less than 5 weeks) declined by 391,000 to 2.0 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those unemployed for 27 weeks or more) fell by 431,000 to 3.8 million in May but is 2.6 million higher than in February 2020.

These long-term unemployed accounted for 40.9 percent of the total unemployed in May 2021, while the number of newly unemployed accounted for 22.1 percent. The share of those unemployed for 5 to 14 weeks among the total unemployed was 23.2 percent in May 2021, while the share of those unemployed for 15 to 26 weeks was 13.8 percent.

These data are from the Current Population Survey and are seasonally adjusted. See "The Employment Situation — May 2021" to learn more. Also see charts of Employment Situation data.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Number of unemployed decreased by 496,000 to 9.3 million in May 2021 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/number-of-unemployed-decreased-by-496000-to-9-3-million-in-may-2021.htm (visited June 22, 2021).

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