U.S. Economy Gains 2.5MM Jobs in May Signaling Recovery in Underway

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U.S. economy gained 2.5 million jobs in May, more than twice the previous record for a monthly gain of 1.1 million jobs, which was set in September 1983.

The U.S. unemployment rate for May fell to 13.3%. However, the May 2020 survey reference week for the BLS household survey is May 12-18. Coupling this unemployment data with the 4.0 million initial claims reported through the weeks ending May 23 and May 30, ThinkWhy, a SaaS company helping businesses navigate the labor market,  estimates unemployment ranges between 13.3% and 23.1%.

“May’s record job gain of 2.5 million strongly suggests that an economic recovery is underway, particularly for some of the nation’s hardest hit businesses such as restaurants, construction, and segments of healthcare. With more states reopening and consumer mobility increasing, June will be a pivotal month for the breadth and sustainability of the rebound,” said Jay Denton, SVP, Business Intelligence and Chief Innovation Officer at ThinkWhy.

In addition, total nonfarm payroll average hourly earnings increased by 6.7% year-over-year ending in May, possibly reflecting the widespread loss of lower-wage jobs. Combined with two consecutive weeks of generally decelerating continuing claims, these are indications the U.S. is seeing signs of recovery. May’s historic turnaround signals the economic recovery has begun, but the road to full recovery will undoubtedly be long.

Industry Movement:

  • Leisure and Hospitality: Job gain within this industry in May was 1.2 million, of which 1.4 million were in food services and drinking places. This gain was offset by employment in the Accommodations industry, which lost 148,000 jobs.
  • Trade, Transportation and Utilities: Gain within this industry was 368,000 jobs, compared to a loss of 3.2 million jobs in the sector in April.
  • Education and Health Care Services: Gain within this industry was 424,000 jobs. In Healthcare, jobs rose by 312,000, including a gain of 245,000 in dental offices.
  • Professional and Business Services: Gain within this industry was 127,000 jobs, after a loss of 2.2 million jobs in April.
  • Manufacturing: Gain within this industry was 225,000 jobs, after a loss of 1.3 million jobs in April.
  • Government: This industry lost 585,000 jobs, down from April’s loss of 963,000 jobs. Most of the May job loss was in local government, which shed 487,000 jobs.

To read the full report, click here.

ThinkWhy continuously monitors and forecasts labor data at all levels, measuring impact to MSAs and businesses across the country, to support organizations and provide insights during the economic downturn as well as the recovery phase.

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