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U.S. Economy

Real-Time Population Survey (RPS)

May 21, 2021

Employment Rate Declines in Mid-May

  • The employment rate for working-age adults (18–64) was 71.1 percent in the RPS for the week of May 9–15, down from the estimate of 71.8 percent for the week of April 11–17.
  • In mid-April, the RPS employment rate of 71.8 percent was above the most recent Current Population Survey (CPS) estimate of 70.7 percent for working-age adults.

Chart 1

Downloadable chart | Chart data

Unemployment Rate Ticks Up

  • The unemployment rate in the RPS was 7.2 percent for May 9–15, up slightly from the estimate of 7.1 percent for April 11–17.
  • In mid-April, the 7.1 percent unemployment rate in the RPS exceeded the official CPS estimate of 5.9 percent for working-age adults (18–64).

Chart 2

Downloadable chart | Chart data

Labor Force Participation Slips

  • The labor force participation rate was 76.5 percent in the RPS for May 9–15, a decrease relative to the estimate of 77.3 percent for April 11–17.
  • In mid-April, the estimated 77.3 percent RPS participation rate compared with an estimate of 75.0 percent in the CPS.

Chart 3

Downloadable chart | Chart data

Next release: June 18

RPS Authors

The RPS was developed by Alexander Bick, an associate professor at WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, and Adam Blandin, an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at Virginia Commonwealth University, in collaboration with Karel Mertens, a senior economic policy advisor in the Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.