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Economy Gained 4.8 Million Jobs in June as Unemployment Rate Declines for Second Straight Month

People line up outside Kentucky Career Center prior to its opening to find assistance with their unemployment claims in Frankfort, Ky., June 18, 2020. (Bryan Woolston/Reuters)

The U.S. economy added nearly 5 million jobs in June, beating expectations for the second straight month as unemployment fell to 11 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday.

Non-farm payrolls rose by a record 4.8 million for the month, with over 40 percent of that coming in 2.1 million new jobs for the leisure and hospitality industries. The numbers are nearly double the gains in May, which saw 2.5 million jobs added.

“These improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it,” BLS said in a statement. “In June, employment in leisure and hospitality rose sharply. Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, education and health services, other services, manufacturing, and professional and business services.”

BLS added that it had worked to better classify workers labeled employed when they should have been labeled as unemployed. “The degree of misclassification declined considerably in June,” the agency said.

Unemployment rates fell across racial demographics, as black unemployment declined to 15.4 percent from 16.8 percent, white unemployment fell to 10.1 percent from 12.4 percent, and Hispanic unemployment dropped to 14.5 percent from 17.6 percent.

But the statistics also showed that 2.8 million Americans permanently lost their job in June, a more than half-a-million increase from May and the largest surge in over a decade.

In a separate report, the Labor Department reported that weekly unemployment claims fell to 1.43 million in the week ended June 27 — a number lower than expectations as reopenings stalled nationwide due to rising coronavirus cases. Continuing claims did not fall in the week ending June 20, instead showing a slight increase to 19.3 million Americans still on unemployment insurance.

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