US employers added 4.8 million jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1% as the job market improved for the second consecutive month while remaining far from making up for the colossal losses that ‘he suffered this spring.
The nation has now recovered about a third of the 22 million jobs it has lost due to the pandemic recession.
Non-farm payrolls rose 4.8 million in June, monthly employment closely monitored by the Labor Department said on Thursday. This was the most since the government began keeping records in 1939. The wage bill rebounded from 2,699 million in May.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast an increase of 3 million jobs in June.
And with confirmed cases of coronavirus crossing the Sun Belt States, a body of evidence suggests that a labor market recovery may be stalled. In these states and elsewhere, some restaurants, bars and other retailers that have reopened are forced to close again.
The closings keep layoffs high: the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits barely dropped to 1.47 million last week.
Although this weekly figure has declined steadily since the peak reached at the end of March, it is still more than double the peak before the pandemic established in 1982. And the total number of people receiving unemployment assistance remains at 19 million.
Hunting for work: in Frankfort, Kentucky, the local government had to create a temporary unemployment office which was submerged in mid-June
California has closed indoor bars, theaters and restaurants in most states. Florida has also closed bars and beaches. Texas has canceled some of its efforts to reopen its economy. New York has suspended plans to allow indoor dining.
Credit and debit card data tracked by JPMorgan Chase shows that consumers cut spending last week after steadily increasing it in late April and May. The reversal occurred in both states that reported increases in COVID-19 and in less affected states, said Jesse Edgerton, economist at J.P. Morgan.
Nationally, card spending fell nearly 13% last week compared to a year ago. It’s worse than the week before, when year-over-year card spending fell just under 10%.
And Kronos, which produces time management software, has found that in the past two weeks, growth in the number of shifts has slowed in the Southeast and is now increasing to half that of the Northeast .
“The pace of recovery is starting to slow,” said Dave Gilbertson, an executive at Kronos. “We expect to see more plateau in the coming months. “
Thursday’s employment report is based on data collected during the second week of June, which is why the numbers reflect an improving trend. Last week’s shift plateau will instead affect July’s employment figures, which will be released in early August.
McDonald’s has halted its reopening efforts nationwide, and Apple says it will close 30 more US stores, in addition to the 47 it’s closed the second time.
Economists have long warned that the economic benefits of reopening businesses will prove short-lived if the virus is not brought under control.
Until most Americans feel confident enough to dine, travel, shop, or get together as a group without fear of infection, restaurants, hotels, and retailers will lack enough customer demand to justify rehiring of all their former employees.
However, some bright spots in the economy have emerged in recent weeks. Manufacturers expanded in June after three months of decline, the Supply Management Institute, a professional group, announced on Wednesday.
New orders are pouring in and factories are adding more jobs, said ISM.
In addition, unprecedented mortgage rates are encouraging more buyers. Purchases of new homes increased sharply in May. And a measure of contracts signed to buy existing homes has jumped to a record high, signaling sales are expected to rebound after falling for three consecutive months.