Unemployment Rate Declines in May

Release Date: 6/19/2020

June 19, 2020

The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) announced today that Nebraska’s preliminary unemployment rate for May was 5.2 percent, seasonally adjusted. The rate was down 3.5 percentage points from the revised April 2020 rate of 8.7 percent and is up 2.1 percentage points from the May 2019 rate of 3.1 percent.

“With conditions in the labor market continually changing due to the pandemic, the data used to calculate the unemployment rate is more volatile than is typical for Nebraska and other states,” said Commissioner of Labor John H. Albin. “Our priority continues to be assisting workers and employers in industries impacted by COVID-19.”

Nonfarm employment was 961,247 in May, down by 74,776 over the year. The two private industries with growth year over year were mining and construction (up 1,773) and financial activities (up 162).

After the largest monthly historical loss in April of 75,039 jobs, May’s total nonfarm employment was up by 16,844 over the month. The largest gains over the month were seen in leisure and hospitality (up 10,273); trade, transportation, and utilities (up 4,282), and mining and construction (up 3,089). Both leisure and hospitality and other services (up 1,935) rebounded from record-breaking decreases in April (-30,135 and -8,227, respectively). Both saw record increases in May.

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May was 13.3 percent, a decrease of 1.4 percentage points from the April 2020 rate of 14.7 percent and up 9.7 percentage points from the May 2019 rate of 3.6 percent

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued the following statement regarding claims data and unemployment estimates: “Data users must be cautious about trying to compare or reconcile the UI claims data with the official unemployment figures gathered through the household survey. The unemployment data derived from the household survey in no way depend upon the eligibility for or receipt of UI benefits. In some cases, UI claims data exclude people who would be identified as unemployed in the household survey, like new entrants to the labor force with no prior work experience. In other cases, UI data may include individuals who do not meet the CPS definition of unemployment. The recent Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020, signed on March 27, 2020, allowed states to temporarily modify or suspend the “actively seeking work” requirement to respond to the spread of COVID-19.” More information is available here: https://www.bls.gov/covid19/employment-situation-covid19-faq-may-2020.htm

Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment and unemployment data can be found on the BLS website www.bls.gov/bls/bls-covid-19-questions-and-answers.htm

June 2020 Nebraska data will be published Friday, July 17, 2020.

More NDOL press releases are accessible here: https://dol.nebraska.gov/PressRelease