The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics today reported that 21 million were unemployed in May—down 2.1 million from the previous month. The national unemployment rate declined by 1.4 percentage points to 13.3 percent. 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 number of furloughed workers decreased by 2.7 million in May to 15.3 million, following an increase of 16.2 million in April. Among those not on temporary leave, the number of people who have permanently lost their jobs continues to rise, increasing by 295,000 in May to 2.3 million.
Leisure and hospitality employment increased by 1.2 million in May, following losses of 7.5 million in April and 743,000 in March. Within the sector, employment food services and drinking places increased by 1.4 million in May following a combined 6.1 million jobs lost in March and April. This increase in the number of food services and drinking places jobs accounted for about half of the gain in total nonfarm employment for the month. In contrast, employment in the accommodation industry fell in May (down 148,000) and has declined by 1.1 million since February.
Read the full report here.