The U.S. economy gained 850,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate rose to 5.9 percent, from 5.8 percent.
Economists had expected gains of roughly 700,000 jobs and a drop of 0.1 to 0.2 percent in the unemployment rate. Due to the increase in activities such as air travel, staying at hotels, eating in restaurants and visiting movie theaters, many have attributed the increase in jobs to employers rehiring the employees they were forced to temporarily lay off due to covid. Notably, the leisure and hospitality employment rate increased by 343,000 and much of this job increase was in food and drink service establishments, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With an increase in jobs available, the enhancements made to the federal unemployment program are being questioned as to their necessity. Many states have withdrawn from the stimulus package that was signed into law in March. Regarding the Labor Department’s report, the Washington Post reported a statement from economist Kate Bahn, stating, “This overshot expectations. And the job growth was in the industries that had been so hard hit. This is pointing to signs that we’re growing back exactly where we need to be growing back.”
According to the Labor Department’s reporting, 14.4 percent of employed persons teleworked due to covid, which is a decrease from the month prior. 6.2 million people reported that they had been unable to work because their employer closed or saw a decrease in their business due to the pandemic. With the increase in the number of people vaccinated, these numbers could show progress in the coming months due to the pandemic restrictions being scaled back.
The same reporting showed a 10-cent increase in average hourly earnings for employees on nonfarm payrolls and for private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees. While some hourly earnings rose and some job fields added more employment opportunities, fields such as manufacturing and construction saw a decrease in job availability possibly due to supply chain issues and shortages.
ARTICLE: BEBE BOUDREAU
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: COURTHOUSE NEWS