The May Jobs Report is Hopeful News for the U.S. Economy: 2.5 Million Jobs Added

By at 5 June, 2020, 10:19 am

by Raymond J. Keating-

Could the economy have hit bottom in April, with the process of climbing out of a deep, dark hole having begun in May? Well, it’s too early to say anything for sure, but the May employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides some real hope.

● First, the establishment survey showed that after two months of breathtaking declines, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 2.5 million in May compared to April.

● Second, the household survey (from which we get the unemployment rate and other key jobs indicators) pointed to an employment gain in May of 3.8 million.

● Third, the labor force in May also grew by 1.7 million.

● Fourth, those not in the labor force declined by 1.6 million.

● Fifth, the labor force participation rate increased from 60.2 percent from April to 60.8 percent in May.

● Sixth, the employment-population ratio increased from 51.3 percent in April to 52.8 percent in May. In addition, the unemployment rate declined from 14.7 percent in April to 13.3 percent in May.

Of course, the levels of the labor force, employment and unemployment still registered at abysmal levels in May. But the fact that the bleeding might have stopped in May is welcome news, along with the possibility that economic healing could be under way.

The road to recovery promises to be a long, hard one, but perhaps we’ve started on that journey.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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