In a strong sign that the economy is beginning to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 2.5 million in May. Economists and analysts had expected a fall of 8.3 million. The unemployment rate also fell, from 14.7 percent in April to 13.3% in May, compared to projections of 19.5%. In what many are calling a stunning reversal, May appears to mark a fast reversal into recovery territory.
Leisure and hospitality saw the biggest gain in jobs, adding 1.2 million after a loss of 7.5 million in April. Much of that was driven by jobs in bars and restaurants as many opened back up slowly in May. Construction saw the next largest gains, with 464,000 jobs added in May, followed by education and health services adding 424,000 jobs and retail 368,000 jobs.
However, government—and especially local government—continued to see a loss, down 585,000 jobs following a drop of 936,000 in April. Jobs in information, mining, and transportation and warehousing also fell in May.
While these gains are monumental, and certainly better than expected, it’s important to note that the unemployment rate, at 13.3%, is still higher than it’s been in over 70 years.
President Trump tweeted about the jobs report on Friday morning, tagging TheStreet's Jim Cramer.