Meanwhile, the US unemployment rate came in at 11.1%, lower than the 12.5% expected by economists. It was also down from 13.3% in May. For context, April’s 14.7% reading was the highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
“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,” said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor.
The data reflected US efforts to move forward with reopening plans in the first half of the month. Still, in the last two weeks not covered by the report, surging new coronavirus cases have cast doubt on the path of the recovery.
As many as 19 states and cities have either paused or rolled back reopening efforts as they grapple with a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. Economists and industry watchers will have to wait for the July report, due in August, to see the employment impact of new coronavirus cases.
“There’s continued risk that a second-wave could reverse some of these job gains in July, but that should not take away from the strength of the June data,” said Thomas Simons of Jefferies.
The BLS said it fixed an issue that affected the data from prior months by misclassifying people as employed when they should’ve been designated as unemployed. The error was seen undercounting the unemployment rate by roughly 1 percentage point.
Nearly all sectors of the economy added jobs in June, with the 2.1 million payrolls added in leisure and hospitality representing the biggest gain. Within the industry, employment in food services and drinking places accounted for 1.5 million jobs added. Still, overall employment in the sector is down by 3.1 million sind February.
Retail trade also added 740,000 jobs in the month, nearly double its gains in May. Education and health services, manufacturing, and professional and businesses services also added jobs in June. Still, employment in all sectors remains below February levels.
Both the labor-force participation rate and the employment-to-population ratio increased in June, suggesting that people are indeed returning to work as states reopen from pandemic-related lockdowns.
Still, while the unemployment rate declined, permanent job losers continued to rise in June, adding 588,000 to 2.9 million after increasing in May. At the same time, reentrants to the labor force rose by 711,00 to 2.4 million.
The June numbers come after May’s report shocked economists, showing 2.5 million job additions at a time when they were expecting a contraction of 7.5 million jobs. The unemployment rate also declined from the prior month, bucking forecasts for a historically high figure.