June jobs report a surprising record-breaker

Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 4.8 million in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 11.1 percent, a stronger than expected showing, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday.


The numbers were a reflection of economic activity resuming after being curtailed in March and April in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it, the federal government said.

In June, some of the strongest employment sectors were in leisure and hospitality, with job gains also in retail trade, education and health services, services, manufacturing, and professional and business services.

Earlier, estimates from economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected 3.23 million new jobs in June, after growth of 2.5 million in May, which was then the biggest gain on record. Previously, economists had expected a loss of 7 million jobs in May.

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Data released Wednesday showed U.S. manufacturing in June hit its highest level in more than a year, what some analysts took to be a promising sign.

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Credit: Staff photo

Credit: Staff photo

“The bottom for manufacturing due to COVID-19 appears to be behind us as growth readings for June surged into expansion territory,” Nationwide Senior Economist Ben Ayers said Wednesday, referring to the new manufacturing data. “A strong rebound in new orders and production is a positive sign for continued sector growth during the third quarter.”

The ISM manufacturing index reported that 13 of 18 manufacturing industries within the survey reported growth in June.

“As long as state and local economies continue to slowly reopen, we expect manufacturing growth to improve further in the months ahead,” Ayers said.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls fell by 35 cents to $29.37 in June, the government said. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and non-supervisory employees also fell by 23 cents to $24.74.

But those wage decreases “largely reflect job gains among lower-paid workers,” the government said.

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