Coming at the heels of a surprising May performance, the US economy showed tenacity as it beat analyst predictions once again. The Bureau of Labor Statistics yesterday reported that the US added 4.8 million non-farm payrolls to the job market in June. This is 1.8 million more jobs than expected. This shows unemployment rate decline to 11.1%.
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Us Generated 4.8 Million Jobs Last June, Unemployment Declines to 11.1%
The majority of new jobs came from the private sector. The hospitality and leisure industry led the way with 2.1 million payrolls or 44%. Restaurants and bars recorded the most gains in the industry, posting 1.5 million new jobs. Meanwhile, government jobs remain few, with only 33,000 new ones during the month.
The increase in jobs so pulled down the unemployment rate to 11.1% in June, which is 2.2% lower than last month’s rate of 13.3%. Meanwhile, April’s 14.7% unemployment rate was the highest since the Depression Era of the 1930s. The 11.1% is still a high number, considering that the previous highest unemployment rate since 1941 is 10.8% in 1982.
While the new jobs showed efforts to reopen the economy, the recent spike in coronavirus cases now threatens any further progress. In a Washington Post report, the US set a new record of single day coronavirus cases, posting 55,220 cases on July 2. Establishments that opened last June have started closing again as a precaution.
Unemployment Also Rises
The US also reported 1.4 million workers filing for unemployment benefits for the first time. This brings the total number of Americans filing for unemployment at least two weeks in a row up to 19.3 million.
The current government stimulus package (CARES Act), provides an extra $600 unemployment insurance. This provision expires by July 31, after which Congress will debate on new rules and amounts. This also allows even self-employed workers to file for claims. Regular unemployment benefits before the coronavirus pandemic remain in effect.
Bars and restaurants in particular, who accounted for 30% of the increase in jobs last June, are in danger of laying off workers again, as states are rethinking their strategy of reopening their economies. This could lead to re-closing open establishments and delaying the reopening of outlets about to open. Either way, the industry is still affected by the ongoing health crisis. Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner William Beach noted that “After two months of job gains…that sector is still down 3.1 million jobs since February.”
Mixed Reactions, Uncertainty for July
While the news garnered positive reactions from various sectors, there were causes for concern among analysts. Glassdoor Chief Economist Andres Chamberlain looks at the report as a sign of good things to come: “Today’s positive jobs report does provide 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 — a reason for optimism in coming months.”
Some are fearing the worst is yet to come. The rising number of infections hampered economic recovery efforts. Businesses and state governments have begun reconsidering plans for their gradual reopening. The effects of the second wave on unemployment will most likely show up in the July and August reports. Michael Pearce, the senior US economist at Capital Economics, believes that a full job market recovery will be more difficult while the US remains in recession. The fresh outbreaks have hampered efforts to jumpstart economic activity as “we expect the recovery from here will be a lot bumpier and job gains to be more muted.”
Goldman Sachs analysts believe that over half the United States is now reconsidering their reopening plans and will bring back restrictions on public activities. They estimated that among the states, only Vermont and New Hampshire are safe to reopen.
Watch this video about Unemployment Rate in US last June:
In the fifth month of the outbreak, new infections keep sidetracking the US’s plans to reopen the economy. Despite the rising coronavirus cases, many Americans insist on going back to work. This explains the increasing numbers in the labor market.
Given the resurgence of the virus, do you think the economy will still be on the rise and unemployment rate will continue to decline? Let us know in the comments section below!