More than 2.5 million new jobs were created in May, offering evidence of a COVID-19 economic recovery, according to statistics just released by the Department of Labor.
Those 2.5 million new jobs make up the largest increase in the history of the Labor Department’s record-keeping dating to the late 1940s.
The jobless rate tacked up to 14.7 percent in April, which was also a Department of Labor record-breaker, following the initial weeks of the national economic shutdown in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
New jobs in May were particularly visible in construction, which saw more than 464,000 workers added to the industry’s payrolls, a trend at variance with earlier forecasts predicting increased job losses in the industry.
The significant uptick in construction work follows a decline of 995,000 in April, on top of a loss of another 65,000 the month before.
The current total industry workforce is now at 7.0 million, down from more than 11.2 million in 2018.
Overall, more than 22.1 million jobs nationally were lost in all employment segments in April and May.
Analysts contend that the better-than-expected increase in jobs in May most likely means that the decline is over, with more new jobs expected to be seen in June and July.
In a statement accompanying the new jobs report, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said the re-opening of the nation’s economy in May proved “earlier, and more robust, than predicted.”
“Millions of Americans are still out of work,” Scalia continued, noting that the Labor Department remained committed to helping the states deliver unemployment benefits to those who need them.
“However,” Scalia added, “it appears the worst of the coronavirus’s impact on the nation’s job markets is behind us.”
By Garry Boulard
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