The US added 559,000 jobs in May as the coronavirus pandemic receded, shaking off fears of a substantial slowdown in hiring after April’s disappointing monthly report.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday that the unemployment rate had fallen to 5.8% from 6.1% in April, still significantly higher than the 3.8% unemployment rate recorded in February 2020 before Covid 19 hit the US but less than half its 14.8% peak in April last year.
The news comes one month after the labor department shocked economists by announcing the US had added just 266,000 new jobs in April – far below the 1m gain that had been expected.
April’s report led to sparring between the Biden administration and Republicans who claimed higher levels of unemployment benefits were keeping people from returning to work.
There are signs of a strong rebound across the US economy. Worker filings for unemployment benefits have dropped by 35% since late April and fell to a pandemic low of 385,000 last week, the labor department said Thursday.