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U.S. Economy Adds 2.5M Jobs in May, Greatly Exceeding Expectations

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. economy added 2.5 million jobs in May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. The uptick signals the economy is recovering faster from the COVID-19 shutdown than many market observers had expected. The unemployment rate decreased from 14.7 percent to 13.3 percent in May.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal were prepared for continued job losses and a further shrinking of the economy. They had predicted a net loss of 8.3 million jobs for May.

Some notable employment sectors that rebounded in May included leisure and hospitality, which added 1.2 million jobs after losing a combined 8.2 million jobs in March and April.

Additionally, the construction sector added back nearly half of its lost jobs from April, moving upward by 464,000 in May. Education and health services was another industry that showed a recovery in May, adding 424,000 jobs. The sector lost 2.6 million jobs in April. Similarly, the retail sector added 368,000 jobs in May after losing 2.3 million in April.

Not all sectors, however, were in the black in May. Employment in government declined by 585,000, following a drop of 963,000 in April. The heaviest loss came in local government (-487,000).

Mining lost 20,000 jobs in May, lowering its three-month total to 77,000 jobs lost.

The BLS also reports the economy lost 642,000 more jobs in March and April than previously reported. The total for March was revised downward by 492,000 to a loss of 1.4 million for the month, while the figures for April were revised from 20.5 million losses to 20.7 million.

In May, the average non-farm payroll hourly earnings dipped 29 cents month-over-month to $29.75.

— Alex Tostado

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