The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that total non-farm payroll employment rose by 4.8 million in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 11.1 percent. Analysts had projected the addition of just 3.1 million jobs resulting in a 12.2 percent unemployment rate.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that the improvements in the labor market “reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
and efforts to contain it.”

Employment in leisure and hospitality rose sharply in June as states continued to re-open. Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, education and health services, other services, manufacturing, and professional and business services.

In June, employment in retail trade rose by 740,000, after a gain of 372,000 in May and losses totaling 2.4 million in March and April combined. On net, employment in the industry is 1.3 million lower than in February. In June, notable job gains occurred in clothing and clothing accessories stores (+202,000), general merchandise stores (+108,000), furniture and home furnishings stores (+84,000), and motor vehicle and parts dealers (+84,000).

Wholesale trade employment rose by 68,000 in June but down by 317,000 since February. In June, job gains occurred in the durable goods (+39,000) and nondurable goods (+27,000) components.

The Labor Department data release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey measures labor force status including unemployment by demographic characteristics. The establishment survey measures non-farm employment, hours and earnings by industry.

It is important to note that the survey data was compiled mid-month prior to some states reversing or curtailing their re-opening plans

Based on the Household Survey Data, the unemployment rate declined by 2.2 percentage points to 11.1 percent in June, and the number of unemployed fell by 3.2 million to 17.8 million. Although unemployment fell in May and June, the jobless rate and the number of unemployed are up by 7.6 percentage points and 12.0 million, respectively, since February.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates declined in June for adult men (10.2 percent), adult women (11.2 percent), teenagers (23.2 percent), Whites (10.1 percent), Blacks (15.4 percent), and Hispanics (14.5 percent). The jobless rate for Asians (13.8 percent) changed little over the month.

The number of unemployed people who were on temporary layoff decreased by 4.8 million in June to 10.6 million, following a decline of 2.7 million in May. The number of permanent job losses continued to rise increasing by 588,000 to 2.9 million in June. The number of unemployed reentrants to the labor market rose by 711,000 to 2.4 million. Reentrants were defined as people who previously worked but were not in the labor force prior to beginning their job search.

The number of unemployed people who were jobless less than 5 weeks declined by 1.0 million to 2.8 million in June. Unemployed people who were jobless 5-to-14 weeks numbered 11.5 million, down by 3.3 million over the month, and accounted for 65.2 percent of the unemployed. By contrast, the number of people jobless 15-to-26 weeks and the long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) saw over-the-month increases (+825,000 to 1.9 million and +227,000 to 1.4 million, respectively).

The labor force participation rate increased by 0.7 percentage points in June to 61.5 percent but is 1.9 percentage points below its February level. Total employment, as measured by the Household Survey, rose by 4.9 million to 142.2 million in June. The employment-population ratio, at 54.6 percent, rose by 1.8 percentage points over the month but is 6.5 percentage points lower than in February. 

In June, the number of people who usually work full time increased by 2.4 million to 118.9 million, and the number who usually work part-time also rose by 2.4 million to 23.2 million.

The number of people employed part-time, for economic reasons, declined by 1.6 million to 9.1 million in June but is still more than double its February level. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part-time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. This group includes people who usually work full-time and people who usually work part-time.

The number of people not in the labor force who currently want a job, at 8.2 million, declined by 767,000 in June but remained 3.2 million higher than in February. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the last 4 weeks or were unavailable to take a job.

People marginally attached to the labor force — a subset of people not in the labor force who currently want a job —numbered 2.5 million in June, little difference from the prior month. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, numbered 681,000 in June, essentially unchanged from the previous month.

The Establishment Survey Data reported that total non-farm payroll employment increased by 4.8 million in June following an increase of 2.7 million in May. These gains reflect a partial resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic in April and March when employment fell by a total of 22.2 million in the two months combined. In June, non-farm employment was 14.7 million, or 9.6 percent, lower than its February level. Employment in leisure and hospitality rose sharply in June. Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, education and health services, other services, manufacturing, and professional and business services. Employment continued to decline in mining.

In June, average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls fell by 35 cents to $29.37. The average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees decreased by 23 cents to $24.74 in June. The decreases in average hourly earnings largely reflect job gains among lower-paid workers; these changes put downward pressure on the average hourly earnings estimates.

The average workweek for all employees on private non-farm payrolls decreased by 0.2 hours to 34.5 hours in June. In manufacturing, the workweek rose by 0.5 hours to 39.2 hours, and overtime was unchanged at 2.4 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private non-farm payrolls fell by 0.2 hours to 33.9 hours. The recent employment changes, especially in industries with shorter workweeks, complicate monthly comparisons of the average weekly hours’ estimates.

The change in total non-farm payroll employment for April was revised down by 100,000, from -20.7 million to -20.8 million, and the change for May was revised up by 190,000, from +2.5 million to +2.7 million. With these revisions, employment in April and May combined was 90,000 higher than previously reported.