The unemployment rate for the month of June dipped lower than expected, reaching 11.1% as 4.8 million Americans joined (or rejoined) the workforce, reports the Labor Department.
Leisure and hospitality represented the largest gains, adding more than 2 million jobs. Retail gained 740,000 jobs, manufacturing added 365,000, and education and health increased by 568,000.
June marked the second consecutive month of jobs growth after more than 20 million jobs were lost or suspended by a pandemic that sent the unemployment rate skyrocketing to nearly 15% in April. June’s figures represent the largest single-month jobs gain in US history and are a clear indication of a swift economic recovery even in the face of a resurgence in cases.
“Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back,” said President Trump. “It’s coming back extremely strong.”
The Labor Department’s report is a “powerful signal of how swiftly US job growth can bounce back and how rapidly businesses can reopen once the nation finally brings the coronavirus under control,” adds Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor.
Keep in mind the report was filed in mid-June, before a spike in cases in states including Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California.
This week, Texas decided to re-close all bars and further reduce restaurant capacity. Apple closed 32 stores across five states, Disney postponed reopening plans in California, and Macy’s announced plans to cut 3,900 corporate jobs.
It is unclear how long these restrictions will remain in place, however, as people are starting to perceive the economic effects of COVID-19 as more dangerous than the virus itself. Companies like American Airlines have already decided to stop social distancing to avoid bankruptcy.
“The 4.8 million rise in non-farm payrolls in June provides further confirmation that the initial economic rebound has been far faster than we and most others anticipated,” says Michael Pearce, a senior economist at Capital Economics. “But that still leaves employment 9.6% below its February level and with the spread of the virus accelerating again, we expect the recovery from here will be a lot bumpier and job gains far slower on average.”
Federal data suggests nearly 1.5 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week.