Virus Outbreak New Threat to Jobs

Omar Yeefoon, owner of Shoals Sound & Service vegan restaurant works behind the bar while the eatery is closed Tuesday, June 30, 2020, in Dallas. Yeefoon reopened his Dallas restaurant June 10 to "a pretty good reception," after having been shuttered for three months. The comeback was fleeting. After four days, Yeefoon had to shut down again in the face of a COVID-19 resurgence in Texas and lay off two of the four workers he'd brought back.

(The Center Square) – The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June, breaking a record that was set just in May. The unemployment rate dropped to 11.1 percent, the U.S. Department of Labor reported.

The economy added 2.7 million jobs in May as states started easing restrictions on businesses that were put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"Our economy is roaring back," Trump said during a Thursday news conference.

"The United States economy added almost 5 million jobs in the month of June, shattering all expectations," Trump added.

Michael Lucci, president and publisher of 50economy.org, said 2 million of the 4.8 million jobs created in June were in the hospitality and leisure industry as restaurants, bars and other entertainment businesses reopened and residents got more comfortable with travel and staying at hotels.

"On the other hand, they [the hospitality and leisure industry] are still down 25 percent from a year ago," Lucci said. "They're having the biggest recovery, but they're still down the most. And that's to be expected."

June's job report is based on a U.S. Department of Labor survey taken in the middle of the month, before recent spikes in COVID-19 cases led states such as Arizona, California, Florida and Texas to begin placing new restrictions on their economies.

Lucci didn't expect the recent coronavirus spikes to have a dramatic impact on July jobs.

"It doesn't seem they're [states with spikes] making a hard turn toward reclosing," he said.

The June jobs report was released Thursday, the same day the labor department reports new weekly unemployment claims.

For the week ending June 27, 1.4 million new unemployment claims were filed, a decrease of 55,000 new claims from the week ending June 20.

"The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 20 was 19,290,000, an increase of 59,000 from the previous week's revised level," the labor department reported.

New unemployment claims have fallen every week since early April, and continuing unemployment claims trended lower throughout June.

​Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at dmccaleb@thecentersquare.com.

Executive Editor

Dan McCaleb is a veteran editor and has worked in journalism for more than 25 years. Most recently, McCaleb served as editorial director of Shaw Media and the top editor of the award-winning Northwest Herald in suburban Chicago.