A new U.S. Labor Department report, released on Thursday because of the Fourth of July holiday, shows U.S. employers added 4.8 million jobs in June — the biggest increase on record, smashing expectations. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expected the report to show that unemployment dropped to 12.3 percent and that employers added 3 million jobs.
The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 11.1 percent in June as businesses shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year rehired millions of idled workers.
May’s figure was revised up by 130,000 for the addition of 2.7 million jobs last month. Still, the nation’s jobless rate is up 7.6 percentage points compared to the start of the year, when it sat at a half-century low.
Because the report was conducted in mid-June, it does not capture the recent closures in some states that have seen a spike in cases. Disney postponed the scheduled July reopening of its California parks, Apple re-closed 32 stores in five states, and Macy’s announced that it would cut 3,900 corporate jobs — roughly 3 percent of its total workforce.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting a 2.9 million increase and a jobless rate of 12.4%.
The June total is easily the largest single-month gain in U.S. history.
Another big contributor to the decline of the jobless rate was a plunge in those on temporary layoff. That total fell by 4.8 million in June to 10.6 million after a decrease of 2.7 million in May. The short-term jobless level fell by 1 million to 2.8 million.
The labor force participation level saw a sharp bump, rising to 61.5%, which brings it to 1.9 percentage points below its February level, a month before the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the U.S. economy.
Jobs were equally balanced at 2.4 million apiece for full- and part-time workers.
MacDailyNews Take: Here’s hoping the second half of 2020 is better than the first (which wouldn’t be at all difficult)! It’s certainly great news to see U.S. unemployment dropping quicker than consensus expectations.
Until we get a COVID-19 vaccine, which will hopefully come more quickly than previously thought possible as Operation Warp Speed looks to accelerate development by funding steps to proceed simultaneously versus the usual sequential process, try to be as safe as you can be – wash your hands frequently, keep your hands away from your face, wear a mask in public, practice social distancing, etc.
The CDC guidelines for how to protect yourself and others — especially older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes and are at higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 — are here.