In recent months, COVID-19 has roiled the worldwide economy, leading to significant job losses and skyrocketing unemployment numbers. Unemployment soared to 14.7 percent in the United States in April with 20.7 million jobs lost that month. The previous month saw the loss of 1.4 million jobs.
May’s job report brought some positive news for the U.S. market. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 2.5 million jobs had been added in May – the largest monthly gain since the bureau began collecting employment data in 1939.
As a result, the U.S. unemployment rate decreased by 1. 4 points, bringing the national average to 13.3 percent for May. In total, there are approximately 21 million unemployed individuals in the United States, a decrease of 2.1 million from April.
“Today’s report shows much higher job creation and lower unemployment than expected, reflecting that the re-opening of the economy in May was earlier, and more robust, than projected. 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. However, it appears the worst of the coronavirus’s impact on the nation’s job markets is behind us,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said in a statement.
The biggest job markets that showed increases in employment were the leisure and hospitality,
construction, education and health services, and retail trade sectors. However, the government sector’s employment numbers are continuing to decline.
Temporary layoffs also decreased in May. This number declined by 2.7 million to 15.3 million during May. The bureau reported in April that 16.2 million individuals had experienced temporary layoffs that month.
Following the release of the jobs report, the stock market surged. As of noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had shot up 926.80 points or 3.53 percent. On Thursday, June 4, the Dow Jones closed at 26,281.89 points, but when the market opened, the Dow Jones moved up to 26,836.80 points by 9:30 a.m. and was sitting at 27,218.73 points as of 11:50 a.m.
Data on Arkansas’ unemployment rate for May is currently unavailable. The state reported an average unemployment rate of 10.2 percent in April. The counties with the lowest unemployment included Arkansas County (5.1 percent), Madison County (5.8 percent), Scott County (6.2 percent), and Calhoun County, Prairie County and Yell County, all with 7.4 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Cleburne County (16 percent), Garland County (15.3 percent), Chicot County (14 percent), Phillips County (13.9 percent), and Crittenden County (13.9 percent).