United States Unemployment Rate  1948-2016 | Data | Chart | Calendar

Unemployment rate in the United States dropped to 4.9 percent in January 2016, from 5 percent in the previous month, while total non-farm payroll employment increased by a lower-than-expected 151,000. The number of unemployed persons, at 7.8 million, was essentially unchanged from December. Unemployment Rate in the United States averaged 5.82 percent from 1948 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 10.80 percent in November of 1982 and a record low of 2.50 percent in May of 1953. Unemployment Rate in the United States is reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

United States Unemployment Rate
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Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
4.90 5.00 10.80 2.50 1948 - 2016 percent Monthly
In the United States, the unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force. This page provides the latest reported value for - United States Unemployment Rate - plus previous releases, historical high and low, short-term forecast and long-term prediction, economic calendar, survey consensus and news. United States Unemployment Rate - actual data, historical chart and calendar of releases - was last updated on February of 2016.


Calendar GMT Reference Actual Previous Consensus Forecast (i)
2015-12-04 01:30 PM Nov 5% 5% 5% 5%
2016-01-08 01:30 PM Dec 5% 5% 5% 5%
2016-02-05 01:30 PM Jan 4.9% 5% 5% 5%
2016-03-04 01:30 PM Feb 4.9%
2016-04-01 12:30 PM Mar 4.9%
2016-05-06 12:30 PM Apr 4.9%

US Jobless Rate Drops to 4.9% in January


Unemployment rate in the United States dropped to 4.9 percent in January 2016, from 5 percent in the previous month, while total non-farm payroll employment increased by a lower-than-expected 151,000. The number of unemployed persons, at 7.8 million, was essentially unchanged from December.

Both the number of unemployed persons, at 7.8 million, and the unemployment rate, at 4.9 percent, changed little in January. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were down by 1.1 million and 0.8 percentage point, respectively. 

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.5 percent) and Whites (4.3 percent) declined in January. The jobless rates for adult women (4.5 percent), teenagers (16.0 percent), Blacks (8.8 percent), Asians (3.7 percent), and Hispanics (5.9 percent) showed little change over the month.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged in January, at 2.1 million, and has shown little movement since June. These individuals accounted for 26.9 percent of the unemployed. 

After accounting for the annual adjustments to the population controls, the civilian labor force and total employment, as measured by the household survey, were little changed in January. The labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, was little changed. The employment-population ratio (59.6 percent) changed little over the month but was up by 0.3 percentage point since October. 

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 6.0 million in January but was down by 796,000 over the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs. 

In January, 2.1 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little different from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. 

Among the marginally attached, there were 623,000 discouraged workers in January, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in January had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

BLS | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
2/5/2016 1:38:50 PM

United States Labour Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
Unemployment Rate 4.90 5.00 10.80 2.50 percent [+]
Non Farm Payrolls 151.00 262.00 1115.00 -1967.00 Thousand [+]
Nonfarm Payrolls Private 158.00 251.00 1089.00 -814.00 Thousand [+]
Government Payrolls -7.00 11.00 427.00 -260.00 Thousand [+]
Manufacturing Payrolls 29.00 13.00 572.00 -519.00 Thousand [+]
Initial Jobless Claims 285.00 278.00 695.00 162.00 Thousand [+]
Continuing Jobless Claims 2255.00 2268.00 6635.00 988.00 Thousand [+]
ADP Employment Change 205.00 229.00 343.00 -826.00 Thousand [+]
Employed Persons 150544.00 149929.00 150544.00 57635.00 Thousand [+]
Unemployed Persons 7791.00 7904.00 15352.00 1596.00 Thousand [+]
Average Hourly Earnings 0.50 0.00 0.60 -0.20 percent [+]
Average Weekly Hours 34.60 34.50 34.70 33.70 Hours [+]
Labor Force Participation Rate 62.70 62.60 67.30 58.10 percent [+]
Long Term Unemployment Rate 1.30 1.30 2.80 1.30 percent [+]
Youth Unemployment Rate 11.20 11.20 19.50 7.80 percent [+]
Productivity 105.67 105.93 106.50 27.56 Index Points [+]
Labour Costs 109.47 106.85 107.23 17.12 Index Points [+]
Job Vacancies 4972.00 5604.00 6197.00 2132.00 Thousand [+]
Job Offers 5431.00 5377.00 5668.00 2146.00 Thousands [+]
Challenger Job Cuts 75100.00 105696.00 248475.00 15100.00 Persons [+]
Wages 21.33 21.22 21.33 2.50 USD/Hour [+]
Wage Growth 4.46 4.27 13.77 -5.77 percent [+]
Wages in Manufacturing 20.15 20.16 20.16 1.27 USD/Hour [+]
Minimum Wages 7.25 7.25 7.25 0.25 USD/Hour [+]
Employment Cost Index 0.60 0.60 1.60 0.20 Percent [+]
Labor Market Conditions Index 0.40 2.90 28.50 -43.60 [+]
Population 318.86 316.50 318.86 76.09 Million [+]
Retirement Age Women 66.00 66.00 66.00 66.00 [+]
Retirement Age Men 66.00 66.00 66.00 66.00 [+]
Wages Low Skilled 1440.00 1500.00 1500.00 1440.00 USD/Month [+]
Wages High Skilled 4000.00 4100.00 4100.00 4000.00 USD/Month [+]
Part Time Employment 27364.00 27359.00 28134.00 10086.00 Thousand [+]
Employment Rate 59.60 59.50 64.70 55.00 percent [+]
Full Time Employment 123141.00 122603.00 123141.00 64640.00 Thousand [+]




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Central African Republic 7.60 Dec/12
Bolivia 7.40 Dec/13
Mauritius 7.40 Sep/15
Uruguay 7.40 Dec/15
Canada 7.20 Jan/16
Comoros 7.00 Dec/12
El Salvador 7.00 Dec/14
Brazil 6.90 Dec/15
Brunei 6.90 Dec/14
Togo 6.90 Dec/13
Nicaragua 6.80 Dec/14
Luxembourg 6.70 Dec/15
Romania 6.70 Dec/15
Sweden 6.70 Dec/15
Burkina Faso 6.60 Dec/14
Malawi 6.60 Dec/13
Netherlands 6.60 Dec/15
Czech Republic 6.40 Jan/16
Lebanon 6.40 Dec/14
Mongolia 6.30 Sep/15
Paraguay 6.30 Sep/15
Hungary 6.20 Dec/15
Indonesia 6.18 Sep/15
Pakistan 6.00 Dec/14
Venezuela 6.00 Dec/15
Argentina 5.90 Sep/15
Australia 5.80 Dec/15
Chile 5.80 Dec/15
Russia 5.80 Dec/15
Peru 5.70 Dec/15
Philippines 5.70 Dec/15
Saudi Arabia 5.70 Jun/15
Cayman Islands 5.60 Dec/15
Ivory Coast 5.30 Dec/13
Malta 5.30 Sep/15
New Zealand 5.30 Dec/15
Estonia 5.20 Sep/15
Ghana 5.20 Dec/13
Israel 5.20 Dec/15
United Kingdom 5.10 Nov/15
Azerbaijan 5.00 Dec/13
Kazakhstan 5.00 Nov/15
Sri Lanka 5.00 Sep/15
India 4.90 Dec/13
United States 4.90 Jan/16
Seychelles 4.70 Dec/14
North Korea 4.60 Dec/13
Norway 4.60 Nov/15
Denmark 4.50 Dec/15
Germany 4.50 Dec/15
Bangladesh 4.30 Dec/13
Honduras 4.30 Dec/13
Ecuador 4.28 Nov/15
United Arab Emirates 4.20 Dec/12
China 4.05 Dec/15
Myanmar 4.02 Dec/13
Cameroon 4.00 Dec/13
Mexico 3.96 Dec/15
Taiwan 3.88 Dec/15
Guinea 3.80 Dec/12
Liberia 3.80 Dec/14
Switzerland 3.80 Jan/16
Uganda 3.80 Dec/13
Bahrain 3.70 Dec/12
Kuwait 3.50 Dec/13
Rwanda 3.40 Dec/12
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Hong Kong 3.30 Dec/15
Japan 3.30 Dec/15
Moldova 3.30 Sep/15
Sierra Leone 3.30 Dec/14
Malaysia 3.20 Nov/15
Trinidad and Tobago 3.20 Jun/15
Bhutan 2.90 Dec/14
Guatemala 2.90 Jun/14
Cuba 2.70 Dec/14
Nepal 2.70 Dec/13
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Liechtenstein 2.40 Dec/14
Vietnam 2.31 Dec/15
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Macau 1.90 Dec/15
Singapore 1.90 Dec/15
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Thailand 0.65 Dec/15
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Qatar 0.20 Dec/14