The U.S. economy created a better-than-expected 4.8 million jobs in June as states gradually eased coronavirus restrictions, allowing more businesses to reopen and rehire idled workers.
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It marked the second consecutive month of growth in the millions, indicating a continued improvement in the nation’s stressed labor market as business activity resumed. The unemployment rate dropped to 11.1 percent, down from 13.3 percent in May.
Still, economists cautioned the news was not all positive: Because the report was conducted in mid-June, it does not capture the recent closures in states that have seen a spike in cases. A separate report on Thursday showed that another 1.43 million Americans filed for jobless aid last week, indicating that layoffs are continuing to mount.
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“The number of weekly unemployment claims remains alarmingly high, having barely dropped from the previous week,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union. “This means that while hiring is occurring in areas such as leisure and hospitality, many are being laid off in support industries and in state and local governments.”
Indeed, leisure and hospitality once again accounted for the biggest bulk of jobs created last month, with more than 2 million new positions added. About 1.48 million of those jobs were added by food services and drinking places — one of the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic as states ordered restaurants and bars to close and directed Americans to stay at home — while the accommodation sector added about 238,000.
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Retail also saw a sizable gain last month, with an increase of 740,000. Auto dealers added 58,100 workers, and 201,600 employees returned to clothing and clothing accessories stores.
Education and health services rose 568,000, with health care accounting for 358,000 of those workers. Dentists added 190,400 jobs and physicians created 80,000.
Manufacturing surged by 356,000.
“Manufacturing looks like it’s ready to take off to a level that it’s never been,” Trump said during a White House press conference Thursday morning, following the release of the report.
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Construction jumped by 158,000, and social assistance jobs climbed by 116,900. In particular, child daycare services saw a surge of 80,000 jobs as more parents returned to work.
Overall, the private sector made up more than 4.7 million of the job gains last month. The government accounted for just 33,000.
But state governments, which face significant budget shortfalls as a result of the virus-induced recession and a lack of tax revenue, lost 25,000 jobs.
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