The U.S. saw an unexpected rise in jobs in May, suggesting that the weeks-long economic drag caused by the coronavirus pandemic is slowing down.
New data released Friday from the Labor Department indicates that employment rose by 2.5 million last month, bringing the jobless rate down to 13.3%, reports CNBC.
The numbers were better than what experts expected.
The outlet reports that economists surveyed by Dow Jones anticipated a drop of 8.33 million in payrolls, which would have bumped the unemployment rate to 19.5%, a significant increase from April’s 14.7% and the worst since the Great Depression.
The numbers suggest that the economy is rebounding following the impact of shutdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The month’s uptick was the greatest one-month surge in the country since 1939, and one of only two increases of more than a million, the other having occurred in September 1983, which registered 1.1 million.
Economists feel optimistic at the new numbers, while admitting that the long-term implications have yet to be seen.
“Barring a second surge of Covid-19, the overall U.S. economy may have turned a corner, as evidenced by the surprise job gains today, even though it still remains to be seen exactly what the new normal will look like,” said Tony Bedikian, head of global markets at Citizens Bank.
On Thursday, data from the Labor Department showed 1.88 million people applied for unemployment, with another 623,000 applying for a federal relief program for the self-employed.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, over 42 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits.
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