Jobs Report Shows Unexpected Gains

Foodservice, bars see biggest increase in jobs between April and May.

June 09, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The most recent U.S. jobs report surprised economists and policymakers, with the U.S. adding 2.5 million jobs and the unemployment rate declining to 13.3%, with many of the new jobs coming in via the foodservice sector. In May, economists had predicted a much worse situation, with consensus predictions suggesting a loss of eight million jobs and a higher unemployment rate of 20%.

The net gain in employment represents a big turnaround from last month’s report, which showed a loss of 20 million-plus jobs in April as the economy basically shut down because of COVID-19, according to Business Insider.

Though job gains were unevenly scattered across the economy, foodservice, such as restaurants and bars, which had been hit especially hard after the lockdowns largely forced those businesses to stop serving patrons indoors and switch to takeout and delivery-only models, saw an increase of nearly 1.4 million jobs last month.

The 10 industries with the biggest total increase in jobs between the April and May were:

·       Foodservice and bars

·       Dentist offices

·       Personal and laundry services

·       Nonresidential specialty trade contractors

·       Residential specialty trade contractors

·       Clothing and accessories stores

·       Automobile dealers

·       Repair and maintenance

·       Other health practitioners’ offices

·       Services to buildings and dwellings.

The net job gains largely reflect people returning to work from furloughs and temporary layoffs, rather than new business expansion. The number of unemployed workers who reported that they were on such a temporary work suspension fell by 2.7 million in May, while the number of workers who said they permanently lost a job increased by about 300,000. 

To see complete details on new jobs, go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' detailed industry table from last week’s report.