Publications

- July 1, 2020: Vol. 32, Number 7

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Job losses bottom out in May

by Loretta Clodfelter

Total nonfarm payroll employment in the United States increased by 2.5 million in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent. The improvement reflects the limited reopening following the imposition of restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although May showed some people returning to work, the total job losses in the previous two months were revised to 1.4 million in March and 20.7 million in April — a total of 22.1 million jobs lost amid the coronavirus outbreak in the biggest employment decline since the Great Depression. And even with the gains in May, U.S. nonfarm payroll employment is 13 percent below its level in February.

By employment category, job increases were seen in leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services, and retail trade, while government employment saw a decrease.

Leisure and hospitality employment — which had fallen by 7.5 million jobs in April and 743

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