May Employment Up 559,000; Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.8%

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 559,000 in May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday—up substantially from May’s tepid numbers but still below consensus expectations, as hiring slowly recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Unemployment Insurance Claims Jump Back Above 1 Million

Americans filing initial unemployment claims jumped back above one million for the week ending Aug. 15, the Labor Department said, suggesting a more difficult climb out of the economic hole triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Office Sector Woes Continue

Analysts say the pandemic shutdown and millions of job layoffs are weighing heavily on the office sector.

MBA Chart of the Week: Monthly Payroll Growth and Unemployment Rate

The economy added a record 4.8 million jobs to nonfarm payrolls in June, bringing the cumulative increase in May and June to one-third of the sharp decreases in March and April. Similarly, the June unemployment rate, at 11.1%, was down 3.6% from its high in April, and labor force participation jumped by 0.7% to 61.5% (1.9% below its pre-coronavirus level in February). However, we are not yet out of the woods.

MBA Chart of the Week: Monthly Payroll Growth and Unemployment Rate

The economy added a record 4.8 million jobs to nonfarm payrolls in June, bringing the cumulative increase in May and June to one-third of the sharp decreases in March and April. Similarly, the June unemployment rate, at 11.1%, was down 3.6% from its high in April, and labor force participation jumped by 0.7% to 61.5% (1.9% below its pre-coronavirus level in February). However, we are not yet out of the woods.

An Upbeat Jobs Report, Followed by a ‘Misclassification Error’

At 8:30 a.m. on Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued a surprising May unemployment report: instead of the 8 million job losses expected by economists’ consensus, the report showed a dramatic 2.5 million increase in jobs, and a 1.4 percent dip in the unemployment rate, from 14.7 percent in April to 13.3 percent. But there was a catch–a huge catch.

Round 3: Initial Unemployment Claims Pile Up 3rd Week in a Row

Nearly 6.6 million Americans filed new applications for unemployment benefits during the first week of April, the Labor Department reported yesterday, bringing the total number over the past three weeks to nearly 17 million.