Nonfarm Payroll Employment Numbers Up as Unemployment Continues to Decline in May 2021

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is reporting that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 559,000 in May, following a disappointing increase of 278,999 in April and a surge in March of 785,000. In May, nonfarm payroll employment is down by 7.6 million, or -5.0% from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. Notable job gains in May occurred in leisure and hospitality, in public and private education, and in health care and social assistance. In May, the unemployment rate declined by -0.3 point to 5.8% percent, and the number of unemployed persons fell by 496,000 to 9.3 million. These measures are down considerably from their recent highs in April 2020 but remain well above their levels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (3.5% and 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020).

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