Job growth in the US came in much higher than expected in June, with the economy adding 850,000 jobs last month, which was significantly higher than the 583,000 jobs added in May and 269,000 in April.
Last month’s jobs gain was the biggest since August 2020, when employers added 1.6 million jobs.
While the June jobs report serves as an indication that the US economy is continuing to recover from the devastating impact of the covid-19 pandemic, the recovery “remains slow and even”, according to Sameer Samana, a senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute (via Fox Business)
Hospitality & Leisure sees largest jobs gain
The largest share of jobs growth was seen in hospitality and leisure, one of the worst-affected sectors by the pandemic, with 343,000 jobs added.
Public and private sector education added 269,000 jobs, while business services (+72,000 jobs), retail trade (+67,000), and other services (+56,000) also witnessed a significant uptick in unemployment. The picture was not so positive across all sectors, however, with industries such as construction and healthcare recording minimal growth.
“Things are picking up,” Nick Bunker, an economist at the job-search company Indeed, told Reuters. “While labor supply may not be as responsive as some employers might like, they are adding jobs at an increasing rate.”
Slight uptick in unemployment rate in June
Despite the jobs growth, the overall unemployment rate rose to 5.9%, up from 5.8% in May and against the 5.6% expectation. This can partly be attributed to the number of people leaving their jobs voluntarily to seek a new position, which increased 164,00 to reach 942,000 in June — the highest such figure since November 2016.
More than half of the 22 million jobs that were lost in March and April 2020 during the first lockdown have now been recovered. As of June’s end, there were 6.8 million (or 4.4%) fewer jobs than in February 2020, just before the pandemic took hold.
News of June’s jobs growth came as additional states announced plans to bring an end to extended unemployment benefits, which has seen unemployed citizens receive federal top-up payments of $300 on top of their state benefits.
Biden on June jobs growth
Following the release of June’s jobs reports, President Joe Biden said the strong growth in unemployment was a clear indication that his economic recovery plan and the vaccination drive were having a larger impact than expected.
“We’re proving to the naysayers and the doubters that they were wrong,” Biden said Friday morning at the White House.
“More jobs, better wages — that’s a good combination. Put simply, our economy is on the move, and we have Covid-19 on the run,” he said.