Employment in the U.S. Rose by 2.5 Million in May

Published by Matt Fishman on

Employment in the United States “rose by 2.5 million in May”, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today. The unemployment rate declined to 13.3%, recovering slightly from the record high rate of 14.7% reported in April.

News of the jobs increase came as a shock, as economists expected a decrease in around 8 million jobs and an unemployment rate of nearly 20%.

The BLS report says the surpise increase “reflected a limited resumption of economic activity” from the COVID-19 pandemic as “leisure and hospitality,
construction, education and health services, and retail trade” industries all saw an increase in employment.

However, it is acknowledged in the report that if workers unemployed on temporary layoff were classified as such, “the overall unemployment rate would have been about 3 percentage points higher than reported”. Additionally, BLS says the survey’s (how the bureau obtains these findings) response rate “was about 15 percentage points lower than in months prior to the pandemic”.