The U.S. economy gained 2.5 million jobs during the month of May, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly jobs report — a major surprise to economists and the first labor increase since February.
Not everyone was happy with this:
The report also said U.S. unemployment declined to 13.3 percent. The figure represents the largest month-to-month increase since the 1930s.
Many analysts expected between 7-8 million job losses in May, following a record decline of more than 20 million in April.
“These improvements in the labor market reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it,” the department said.
“In May, employment rose sharply in leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services, and retail trade. By contrast, employment in government continued to decline sharply.”
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared by more than 1,000 points after the report’s release.
“This leads us on to a long period of growth. We will go back to having the greatest economy anywhere in the world,” President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House Friday. “I think we are going to have a very good upcoming few months … a very good August, a very good July, maybe a spectacular September, but a spectacular October, November, December and next year is going to be one of the best year’s we have ever had economically.”
Economists had prepared for potentially historic lows in Friday’s report. Estimates had projected May’s official unemployment rate would climb from 14.7 percent to 19.5 percent, with experts saying the true rate — when accounting for workers who consider themselves “employed but absent” from work during COVID-19 business shutdowns — would probably be near 25 percent.
An official unemployment rate of nearly 20 percent would have been the highest since the Great Depression, when the rate is estimated to have peaked at an all-time high of 25 percent in 1933.
Instead, the Labor Department said the unemployment rate declined by 1.4 percent for the month.
Friday’s booming assessment caught just about all observers and analysts by surprise.
“I have been watching and parsing [jobs] reports on a monthly basis for more than 15 years and I have never seen such a surprising deviation,” Jason Ware, chief investment officer and partner at Albion Financial Group, told UPI.
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