Continuing to slowly pull itself out from the depths of a COVID-19 outbreak and economic shutdown, the U.S. posted 4.8 million new jobs last month.
According to the federal Department of Labor, that job growth meant that the national unemployment rate in the last month has fallen to 11.1 percent from the 13.3 percent recorded in May.
In a statement, Eugene Scalia, Secretary of the Labor Department, said the new numbers means that “our resilient economy continues to return more people to work more quickly than forecast.”
With the jobless numbers for African-American workers dropping from 16.8 percent to 15.4 percent, and Hispanic-American workers seeing a drop from 17.6 percent to 14.5 percent, Scalia added: “It is heartening to see employment gains across nearly all demographics.”
The 4.8 million gain in jobs follows a May increase of 2.7 million, with the construction industry adding 158,000 new jobs.
The building industry’s unemployment numbers were also more healthy than the country at large with a posted June jobless rate of 10.1 percent, down from 12.7 percent in May and 16.6 percent the month before.
Despite the decline in unemployment, the new Labor Department figures underline the dramatic trajectory of the national economy so far this year: in February the jobless rate was at 3.5 percent, the lowest such figure since 1969.
Economists have also said that they are worried that a second COVID-19 wave either late this summer or early fall could wipe out much of the job gains from the last two months.
In his statement, Scalia struck an upbeat note, saying that the most recent joblessness decline shows: “We can return millions more Americans to work in the weeks ahead, provided we bear in mind that economic recovery must go hand-in-hand with safe practices and self-discipline."
By Garry Boulard
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