Resurgence of virus cases may slow next jobs report…
(Liberty Headlines) U.S. employers added a substantial 4.8 million jobs in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1%, as the job market improved for a second straight month, yet still remained far short of regaining the colossal losses it suffered this spring.
The nation has now recovered roughly one-third of the 22 million jobs it lost to the pandemic recession. And with confirmed coronavirus cases spiking across several states, some restaurants, bars and other retailers that had re-opened are being forced to close again.
The re-closings are keeping layoffs elevated: The number of Americans who sought unemployment benefits barely fell last week to 1.47 million. Though that weekly figure has declined steadily since peaking in late March, it’s still more than double the pre-pandemic peak set in 1982. And the total number of people who are receiving jobless aid remains at a sizable 19 million.
California has re-closed bars, theaters and indoor restaurant dining across most of the state. Florida has also re-closed bars and beaches. Texas has reversed some of its efforts to reopen its economy. New York has paused its plans to allow indoor dining.
That trend has left more people in some states unemployed. The number of laid-off workers seeking jobless benefits rose last week in Texas, Arizona and Tennessee. Though the figure fell in California, it remained near 280,000 — more people than were seeking unemployment benefits in the entire country before the pandemic struck in March.
The U.S. job growth in June was driven mainly by companies recalling workers who had been laid off when the coronavirus outbreak intensified in mid-March, causing widespread business shutdowns across the country.
Credit and debit card data tracked by JPMorgan Chase show that consumers reduced their spending last week after having increased it steadily in late April and May. The reversal has occurred both in states that have reported surges in COVID-19 and in less affected states, said Jesse Edgerton, an economist at J.P. Morgan.
Thursday’s jobs report is based on data gathered in the second week of June, which helps explain why the figures reflect an improving trend. Last week’s plateau in work shifts will instead affect the July jobs figures, to be released in early August.
Still, some bright spots in the economy have emerged in recent weeks. Manufacturers expanded in June after three months of shrinking, the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group, said Wednesday. New orders are flowing in, and factories are adding more jobs, the ISM said.
And record-low mortgage rates are encouraging more home buyers. Purchases of new homes rose sharply in May. And a measure of signed contracts to buy existing homes soared by a record amount, a sign that sales should rebound after falling for three straight months.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.