May 2020 Jobs Report Shows 2.5 Million Jobs Added Despite Coronavirus Crisis

Jobs Report

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The United States economy added a surprising 2.5 million jobs while the unemployment rate declined to 13.3 percent in May 2020 despite the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that caused a record loss of 20.5 million jobs in April 2020, according to the jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The improved labor market reflected a limited resumption of economic activity curtailed due to the Coronavirus. The jobs report revealed the number of unemployed people fell by 2.1 million to reach 21.0 million in May 2020, while employment rose in leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services, and retail trade.

  • Leisure and hospitality employment increased by 1.2 million jobs in May, following losses of 7.5 million jobs in April and 743,000 jobs in March.
  • Construction employment increased by 464,000 jobs in May, gaining back almost half of April’s decline of 995,000 jobs.
  • Education and health services employment increased by 424,000 jobs in May, after a decrease of 2.6 million jobs in April.
  • Retail trade employment rose by 368,000 jobs in May, after a loss of 2.3 million jobs in April.
  • Other services industry employment added 272,000 jobs in May, following a decline of 1.3 million jobs in April.
  • Manufacturing employment rose by 225,000 jobs in May, after a decline of 1.3 million jobs in April.
  • Professional and business services employment added 127,000 jobs in May, after shedding 2.2 million jobs in April.
  • Financial activities employment added 33,000 jobs in May, following a loss of 264,000 jobs in April.
  • Wholesale trade employment was up by 21,000 jobs in May, after a decline of 383,000 jobs in April.
  • Transportation and warehousing employment decreased by 19,000 jobs in May, after a decline of 553,000 jobs in April.
  • Mining employment continued to lose jobs with 20,000 jobs lost in May and has declined by 77,000 jobs over the past three months.
  • Information employment fell by 38,000 jobs in May, following a decline of 272,000 jobs in April.
  • Government employment continued to decline, with 585,000 jobs lost in May, following a drop of 963,000 jobs in April.

The jobs report showed the change in employment for March 2020 was revised from 881,000 jobs lost to 1.4 million jobs lost while April 2020 was revised from 20.5 million jobs lost to 20.7 million jobs lost. With these revisions, gains in February and March combined were 642,000 jobs lower than previously reported.

The report misclassified some workers: “As was the case in March and April, household survey interviewers were instructed to classify employed persons absent from work due to coronavirus-related business closures as unemployed on temporary layoff. However, it is apparent that not all such workers were so classified,” it read.

“If the workers who were recorded as employed but absent from work due to other reasons (over and above the number absent for other reasons in a typical May) had been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff, the overall unemployment rate would have been about 3 percentage points higher than reported.”

The jobs report is usually released on the first Friday of every month at www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm. The jobs report for June 2020 will be released on Thursday, July 2, 2020. More information about the May 2020 jobs report is available at www.bls.gov/cps/employment-situation-covid19-faq-may-2020.pdf.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of June 5, 2020, there are more than 6.6 million global cases and more than 391,000 global deaths, while the U.S. leads the world with more than 1.8 million cases and more than 108,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

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