THE unemployment rate fell to 11.1% in June as employers added 4.8 million jobs amid ongoing re-openings from coronavirus restrictions.
The numbers mark the second month in a row that the unemployment rate has fallen from a peak of 14.7% in April, but it remains higher than any level seen since the Great Depression.
The unemployment rate is a 2.2% drop from May, and the increase in non-farm payrolls is almost double the number added in May.
Hiring was supported by the continued easing of coronavirus restrictions nationwide and an increase in consumer spending.
“These improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it,” the Labor Department said.
The survey data the rate is based on, however, was collected in mid-June, before a number of state leaders paused or rolled back reopening plans as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations dramatically increased.
Some states, including Texas, Florida and Arizona, have re-imposed restrictions that shutter or further constrain the operations of some nonessential businesses, including bars.
The labor market “roared back to life” in June, but the unemployment rate and payroll figures released Thursday are a “look in the rearview mirror,” Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, said in a statement.
“With surging COVID-19 cases hitting new highs in the past week, rough waters are surely ahead for the economy in the coming months as a second wave could again shutter millions of American small businesses and put a freeze on hiring.”