The rebound in the U.S. jobs market accelerated in June as the economy reopened more broadly, before a pickup in coronavirus cases that puts additional gains in jeopardy.
Payrolls rose by 4.8 million in June after an upwardly revised 2.7 million gain in the prior month, according to a Labor Department report Thursday. The unemployment rate fell for a second month, by 2.2 percentage points to 11.1%, still far above the pre-pandemic half-century low of 3.5%.
A separate report from the Labor Department showed initial applications for unemployment insurance in regular state programs fell by less than expected, to 1.43 million, in the week ended June 27. Continuing claims — or claims for ongoing unemployment benefits in state programs — rose slightly to 19.3 million in the week ended June 20.
Economists had forecast payrolls to rise by 3.23 million — the median in a range of 500,000 to 9 million — and an unemployment rate of 12.5%.