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Employers Added Nearly 5 Million Jobs in June, Unemployment Eases

July 2, 2020 by Dan McCue
Glen Buhlmann, lower left, fills out a job application during a walk- and drive-up job fair in Seattle for clothing maker Outdoor Research's new line of face masks and other personal protection equipment the company has started manufacturing due to the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. employers likely rehired several million more workers in June, thereby reducing a Depression-level unemployment rate, but the most up-to-date data suggests that a resurgent coronavirus will limit further gains. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

WASHINGTON – Employers added 4.8 million jobs in June, pushing the nation’s unemployment rate down to 11.1%, down from a peak of 14.7% in April, the Labor Department said Thursday.

June was the second month in a row of payroll gains after a loss of more than 20 million jobs in April, when the coronavirus pandemic effectively paralyzed the nation.

Despite the apparent good news, economists responded with caution Thursday, noting the data was collected before the recent spike in new virus cases and the subsequent reversal of reopening orders in several states.

The department itself noted the unemployment number may have been as much as a point higher had it not been for persistent data-collection problems.

More timely data, also released by the Labor Department on Thursday morning, showed that 1.4 million Americans filed new claims for state unemployment benefits last week.

While that remains below its all-time peak. when the pandemic first hit, it still remains historically high.

In addition, more than 800,000 filed for benefits under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

Economists had expected roughly 3 million jobs to be added and the employment rate to decline to 12.5%.

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