By Paula Katinas and Currents News Staff
WINDSOR TERRACE — The U.S. economy showed strong signs of rebounding from the near-Depression era downfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic – with the nation’s unemployment rate ticking down to 13.3 percent – the federal government’s monthly jobs report for April showed.
A record 2.5 million jobs were added in May — the biggest gain reported in new jobs since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics started keeping track in 1939, catching many economists by surprise. Most experts had predicted a loss in jobs, with some estimating that number to be up to 8 million.
The monthly jobs figures for May, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 5, were a sharp contrast from April when the unemployment rate stood at 14.7 percent and 20.7 million jobs were lost.
President Donald Trump was quick to claim credit for the surprisingly good news in the U.S. labor market.
“Really Big Jobs Report,” the president wrote on Twitter shortly after the numbers were released. “Great going President Trump (kidding but true)!”
The job numbers are an indication that the country is coming out of the dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown when the U.S. economy was for all practical purposes shut down, U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said in a statement.
“Today’s report shows much higher job creation and lower unemployment than expected, reflecting that the re-opening of the economy in May was … more robust, than projected,” Scalia said.
But the country is not out of the woods just yet, according to Scalia.
“Millions of Americans are still out of work, and the department remains focused on bringing Americans safely back to work and helping states deliver unemployment benefits to those who need them,” Scalia added. ”However, it appears the worst of the coronavirus’s impact on the nation’s job is behind us.”
Construction jobs increased by 464,000 in May, gaining back nearly half of the jobs lost in April across that sector.
The improving economic picture comes at a time when the large parts of the country are starting to reopen.
“These improvements in the labor market reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it,” William W. Beach, commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said in a statement.