Unemployment falls to 5.8%, a new pandemic low—yet still below economists’ expectations

In May, the U.S. economy generated 559,000 million new jobs, and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.8% from 6.1% in April. This was below economists’ expectations and the United States is still short 7.6 million jobs from where it stood in February 2020.

The economy added 559,000 jobs last month, pulling the unemployment rate down to 5.8 percent, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Friday. Payrolls were expected to increase by 671,000, according to economists surveyed by Dow Jones. The number of unemployed workers fell by nearly half a million to 9.3 million. In total, more than 15.3 million Americans are still on some form of unemployment benefit, which is down from 20.8 million in February – but seven times higher than before the pandemic started.

Of those on benefits, nearly 3.5 million were receiving traditional state unemployment benefits the week of May 29, down by 258,000 from 3.8 million the week before. Nearly 48% of small-scale business owners reported unfilled job openings last month, the National Federation of Independent Business said. The Labor Department reported Tuesday that job openings hit a record 9.3 million in April. Layoffs dropped to 1.4 million, lowest in records dating back to 2000; 4 million quit their jobs in April, another record and a sign that they are confident enough in their prospects to try something new [Daily Mail].

This news comes as many states have begun to rapidly reopen after being shut down for months. The fall in jobless claims is likely a reflection of easing restrictions all across the country as well as the fact that at least two million daily vaccinations are taking place in the U.S. [MSN].


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