Newly released statistics on Thursday showed that the U.S. economy regained 4.8 million jobs in June and that the unemployment rate fell from 13.3% to 11.1% as the country continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
“These improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a statement. “In June, employment in leisure and hospitality rose sharply. Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, education and health services, other services, manufacturing, and professional and business services.”
According to the report, black unemployment dropped from 16.8% to 15.4% and Latino unemployment dropped from 17.6% to 14.5%.
— BLS-Labor Statistics (@BLS_gov) July 2, 2020
“We’re in the beginning of a slow recovery,” Marianne Wanamaker, a labor economist at the University of Tennessee, told The Wall Street Journal. “I think the recovery will stall out if we don’t get control of the virus.”
While things are looking up, some economists were quick to caution that the U.S. was not out of woods yet in terms of being in a dire economic environment caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The big picture is this is still an emergency,” Lisa Cook, economics professor at Michigan State University, told The Wall Street Journal. “There are small businesses and other businesses that are permanently closing.”
The Labor Department report highlighted the following key statistics:
The unemployment rate declined by 2.2 percentage points to 11.1 percent in June, and the number of unemployed persons fell by 3.2 million to 17.8 million. Although unemployment fell in May and June, the jobless rate and the number of unemployed are up by 7.6 percentage points and 12.0 million, respectively, since February. …
The number of unemployed persons who were on temporary layoff decreased by 4.8 million in June to 10.6 million, following a decline of 2.7 million in May. The number of permanent job losers continued to rise, increasing by 588,000 to 2.9 million in June. The number of unemployed reentrants to the labor force rose by 711,000 to 2.4 million.
The number of unemployed persons who were jobless less than 5 weeks declined by 1.0 million to 2.8 million in June. Unemployed persons who were jobless 5 to 14 weeks numbered 11.5 million, down by 3.3 million over the month, and accounted for 65.2 percent of the unemployed. By contrast, the number of persons jobless 15 to 26 weeks and the long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) saw over-the-month increases (+825,000 to 1.9 million and +227,000 to 1.4 million, respectively).
According to the BLS Report:
Black unemployment went down from 16.8% to 15.4%.
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) July 2, 2020
MSNBC’s Steve Ratter, who used to work in the Obama administration, responded to the jobs report by saying in part, “There’s no other way to look at this but as good news and we all of course want good news. Economists have had a particularly difficult time in forecasting numbers, including jobless numbers as we saw last month, they got a bit closer this month, but there were surprises to the upside. Getting the unemployment rate down to 11% is definitely better than any of us expected.”
MSNBC's Steve Rattner on June's jobs report:
"There's no other way to look at this but as good news…getting the unemployment rate down to 11% is definitely better than any of us expected." pic.twitter.com/DuFWspCHww
— Francis Brennan (@FrancisBrennan) July 2, 2020
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