US unemployment drops to 13.3% - still on par with Great Depression

US unemployment drops to 13.3% - still on par with Great Depression

The unemployment rate dropped over the past month as the economy added 2.5 million jobs, defying predictions of additional layoffs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

This is the highest the jobless rate has been since 1982.

Although it's hard to say just how large the effect is, economists say the surprisingly strong numbers are likely driven by the stimulus programs passed by Congress, especially the Paycheck Protection Program, which has incentivized small businesses - including many restaurants and bars, which gained 1.4 million jobs - to put employees back on the payroll.

The U-6 is the unemployment rate that includes the total unemployed plus people who have given up looking for work or are working part-time but want full-time employment.

"These improvements in the labor market reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it", the BLS said in the report.

After months of criticism over his hit-and-miss handling of the pandemic and outrage among even some top former aides over his suggestion of a military crackdown or police brutality against protesters, Trump is at the lowest ebb of his presidency. The increase in the number of jobs come after three million jobs were lost over March and April.

Earlier data showed that the unemployment rate previously soared to a record 14.7 percent in April, as COVID-19 continues to ravage the economy.

In a series of tweets, President Donald Trump sought to take credit for a stunning USA job report that showed the country's unemployment rate dropped during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Really Big Jobs Report".

The FBI in March forecasted a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, noting in a report that the warning was made "based on the assumption that a portion of the US public will associate COVID-19 with China and Asian American populations".

Restaurants and bars added almost 1.4 million jobs in May when they reopened across the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Much of the gain occurred in specialty trade contractors (325,000 jobs), with growth about equally split between the residential and nonresidential components.

There were 2.7 million people who had been temporarily laid off and returned to their jobs in May.

Education and health services industries added 424,000 payrolls in May after shedding 2.59 million in April.

But unemployment rates in those industries remain high.

This category is important because it excludes part-timers who can't work as many hours as they'd like because of poor business conditions.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said this week that the company hired more than 300,000 associates in the US. This means the results of the June jobs report, to be released early next month, will be a critical test of the potential recovery's strength.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, a major accounting firm, wrote in a blog that job gains are "welcome" and suggest that the economy may have "hit a trough" in May, while noting that "losses remain significant".

"Barring a second surge of Covid-19, the overall USA economy may have turned a corner, as evidenced by the surprise job gains today, even though it still remains to be seen exactly what the new normal will look like", said Citizens Bank head of global markets Tony Bedikian.

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