The U.S. unemployment rate declined to 11.1% and total employment rose by 4.8 million in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday. It said job increases were driven mainly by unemployed people who had been temporarily laid off returning to work and were heavily skewed to the leisure and hospitality sectors.
The unemployment rate declined by 2.2 percentage points and the number of unemployed people by 3.2 million to 17.8 million.
The number of permanent lob josses continued to rise, increasing by 588,000 to 2.9 million in June.
The numbers came out a day early — Thursday instead of Friday due to the July 4 holiday. They were better than expected but are somewhat of a lagging indicator because they reflect employment as of the first half of the month, from data collected around the middle of the month, which is before the latest surge of coronavirus infections in key states across the country forced some businesses to reclose.
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 DOL said.
“Today’s announcement proves our economy is roaring back,” said President Donald Trump in a televised appearance this morning to comment on the numbers.
The number of permanent job losses continued to rise, increasing by 588,000 to 2.9 million in June. The number of unemployed re-entrants to the labor force rose by 711,000 to 2.4 million.
The monthly DOL report only breaks out broad sectors and doesn’t report state figures. California has routinely seen among the highest rate of new unemployment claims, which are filed weekly, since the pandemic erupted. Entertainment has been hard hit on the jobs front including massive furloughs at theme parks and theater chains, stalled film and television production and belt tightening across the industry. Steps towards reopening are hopeful but a resurgence of COVID-19 in 36 states recently, including a major jump in California, has some economists fearing that gains made earlier in the spring could be at risk.
The U.S. recorded over 50,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day this week. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned soberingly that the number could rise to 100,000.