Recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed a continuous downward trend for unemployment that could result in numbers not seen in about 50 years.
While the statistics were up slightly in June, with an additional 499,000 applying for jobless benefits, the national unemployment rate has been hovering around 4 percent since last October. Even considering that slight uptick, the 4.0 percent rate is a 0.3% increase from June 2017.
Gains were also seen across a wide range of industries, including professional and business services, manufacturing, healthcare, nonfarm payroll, mining, and construction. The retail industry lost 22,000 jobs last month but that was offset from a previous gain back in May of 25,000 jobs.
According to the Wall Street Journal, economists expect the downward decline in unemployment to continue, with the possibility of reaching levels that have not been seen in 50 years. The prediction is that the jobless rate could see unemployment at 3.7 percent. The last lowest rate reported was 3.8 percent in 1966, and the highest recorded rate was at 10.8 percent in November 1982.
At the height of the Great Recession, unemployment was at 10 percent in October 2009. Looking at national unemployment trends, the monthly rate has been falling about a full percentage each year since.
The unemployment rate is calculated from a formula that considers the labor force divided by the adult population. Many economists credit the decrease in unemployment from a number of factors, including an older and more educated workforce. Even though unemployment figures do not factor in those who are not actively looking for work, the slight uptick is still being considered “a positive step forward,” according to the U.S. News and World Report.
President Donald Trump commented on the economy and unemployment on July 27, saying in a press release: “We’ve accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportions. When I came into office, 1.5 million fewer prime-age Americans were working than eight years before. We had lost almost 200,000 manufacturing jobs under the previous administration. And you all know, they say, ‘Well, you have to lose manufacturing jobs. It will get worse and worse. Manufacturing jobs are obsolete.’ No, they’re not obsolete; they’re the greatest jobs we have.”
While some experts have mixed reservations about the future of manufacturing jobs in America, the potential for future growth in other sectors seems promising.
The latest national unemployment figures should be released later this week.