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Economic News Release

Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release

Transmission of material in this statement is embargoed until 
8:30 a.m. (ET) July 2, 2020.

                           Statement of

                         William W. Beach
                     Bureau of Labor Statistics

                       Thursday, July 2, 2020

      Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 4.8 million in 
June, and the unemployment rate declined by 2.2 percentage 
points to 11.1 percent. These improvements reflect the continued 
resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March 
and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts 
to contain it.
      In June, employment continued to rise in several major 
industry sectors, with the largest gain in leisure and 
hospitality. Notable gains also occurred in retail trade, 
education and health services, other services, manufacturing, 
and professional and business services.
      To put the June employment gain of 4.8 million in context, 
substantial job losses related to the coronavirus pandemic 
started in March, as employment fell by 1.4 million. This was 
followed by deeper job cuts in April, when payroll employment 
declined by 20.8 million, as revised. By May, some pandemic-
related restrictions on economic activity began to be lifted, 
and employment rose by 2.7 million, as revised.
      This rebound in business activity accelerated in June. 
Nevertheless, total nonfarm employment is 14.7 million, or 9.6 
percent, lower than in February. Furthermore, although 
unemployment continued to fall in June, the unemployment rate 
and the number of unemployed people are up by 7.6 percentage 
points and 12.0 million, respectively, since February.
      The response rate for the household survey continued to be 
adversely affected by pandemic-related issues. The response rate 
for the establishment survey also was below normal for June. The 
impacts of the pandemic on the household and payroll surveys are 
detailed in the June Employment Situation news release and 
accompanying materials (available on the BLS website at For both surveys, we 
were still able to obtain estimates that meet BLS standards for 
accuracy and reliability.
      Taking a closer look at the June payroll data, employment 
in leisure and hospitality increased by 2.1 million, accounting 
for about two-fifths of growth in total nonfarm employment. 
Within the industry, employment in food services and drinking 
places rose by 1.5 million. This followed an increase of the 
same magnitude in May. Despite the gains in May and June, 
employment in food services and drinking places remains 3.1 
million lower than in February. Employment in amusements, 
gambling, and recreation increased by 353,000 in June, and the 
accommodation industry added 239,000 jobs.
      Retail trade employment increased by 740,000 in June but is 
1.3 million lower than in February. Job growth occurred among 
all component industries in June. Notable job gains occurred in 
clothing and accessories stores (+202,000), general merchandise 
stores (+108,000), motor vehicle and parts dealers (+84,000), 
furniture and home furnishings stores (+84,000), and 
miscellaneous store retailers (+70,000).
      In June, employment in education and health services 
increased by 568,000 but is down by 1.8 million from February. 
In June, health care employment rose by 358,000, with gains in 
offices of dentists (+190,000), offices of physicians (+80,000), 
offices of other health practitioners (+48,000), and outpatient 
care centers (+24,000). Elsewhere in health care, job losses 
continued in nursing care facilities (-18,000). Employment in 
social assistance increased by 117,000, with gains in child day 
care services (+80,000), individual and family services 
(+28,000), and vocational rehabilitation services (+9,000). 
Employment in private education rose by 93,000.
      Employment in the other services industry rose by 357,000 
in June, with about three-fourths of the gain occurring in 
personal and laundry services (+264,000). Since February, 
employment in the other services industry is down by 752,000. 
      Manufacturing employment increased by 356,000 in June, 
after an increase of 250,000 in May. Over the past 2 months, the 
industry has recovered less than half of the 1.4 million jobs 
lost in March and April. Most of the recent changes in 
manufacturing employment have occurred in durable goods 
manufacturing; in June, employment increased in motor vehicles 
and parts (+196,000), miscellaneous durable goods manufacturing 
(+26,000), and machinery (+18,000). Job gains in the nondurable 
goods component occurred in plastics and rubber products 
(+22,000), miscellaneous nondurable goods manufacturing 
(+16,000), and apparel (+9,000).
      In June, professional and business services added 306,000 
jobs. On net, employment in the industry is 1.8 million below 
its February level. In June, employment gains occurred in 
temporary help services (+149,000), services to buildings and 
dwellings (+53,000), and accounting and bookkeeping services 
(+18,000). Job losses occurred in computer systems design and 
related services (-20,000) and in travel arrangement and 
reservation services (-8,000).
      Construction employment rose by 158,000 in June, after 
increasing by 453,000 in the prior month. Over the past 2 
months, construction has recovered more than half of the 
cumulative job losses from March and April. In June, the 
majority of the job growth occurred in specialty trade 
contractors (+135,000), with gains about equally split between 
the nonresidential (+71,000) and residential (+64,000) 
components. Construction of buildings added 32,000 jobs over the 
month, while heavy and civil engineering construction lost jobs 
      Employment in transportation and warehousing increased by 
99,000 in June, following losses of 28,000 in May and 560,000 in 
April. Over the month, notable job gains occurred in warehousing 
and storage (+61,000) and couriers and messengers (+21,000).
      In June, wholesale trade employment rose by 68,000, with 
increases in the durable goods (+39,000) and nondurable goods 
(+27,000) components. Employment in wholesale trade is 317,000 
lower than its February level.
      Employment in financial activities rose by 32,000 in June, 
with real estate adding 18,000 jobs. Since February, employment 
in financial activities is down by 237,000.
      Government employment was little changed in June (+33,000), 
following declines of 533,000 in May and 952,000 in April. In 
June, an employment gain in local government education (+70,000) 
was partially offset by losses in state government (-25,000).
      Employment in mining fell by 10,000 in June, mostly in 
support activities for mining (-7,000). The mining industry has 
lost 123,000 jobs since a recent peak in January 2019, although 
most of this decline has occurred since February 2020.
      Average weekly hours for all private-sector workers fell by 
0.2 hour in June, following an increase of 0.5 hour in May. The 
average workweek for manufacturing rose by 0.5 hour in June. 
Since estimates of average weekly hours take into account the 
size of each industry's employment, one should continue to be 
cautious when interpreting changes in the workweek at the total 
private level. In particular, large employment changes in 
industries with shorter or longer than average workweeks can 
complicate monthly comparisons of the average weekly hours 
      Similarly, changes in average hourly earnings in recent 
months must be interpreted with caution. Average hourly earnings 
of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined by 35 
cents in June to $29.37, following a decrease of 31 cents in May 
and a gain of $1.34 in April. The increase in average hourly 
earnings in April largely reflects the disproportionate number 
of lower-paid workers who went off payrolls, which put upward 
pressure on the total private average hourly earnings estimate. 
Some of these workers returned to payrolls in May and June, 
putting downward pressure on average hourly earnings, though the 
effect is more muted given the smaller magnitude of employment 
changes in the past 2 months.
      Turning to the labor market indicators from the household 
survey, the unemployment rate declined by 2.2 percentage points 
to 11.1 percent in June, and the number of unemployed people 
decreased by 3.2 million to 17.8 million. Both measures have 
decreased for 2 consecutive months, although they remain much 
higher than in February (+7.6 percentage points and +12.0 
million, respectively).
      June's unemployment decline occurred primarily among people 
on temporary layoff. There were 10.6 million people on temporary 
layoff in June, down by 4.8 million. The number of permanent job 
losers rose by 588,000 to 2.9 million. The number of unemployed 
reentrants to the labor force increased by 711,000 to 2.4 
million. (Reentrants are people who previously worked but were 
not in the labor force prior to beginning their job search.)
      In June, the unemployment rate fell for adult men (10.2 
percent), adult women (11.2 percent), teenagers (23.2 percent), 
Whites (10.1 percent), Blacks (15.4 percent), and Hispanics 
(14.5 percent). The rate for Asians (13.8 percent) was little 
      Among the unemployed, the number of people searching for 
work less than 5 weeks fell by 1.0 million to 2.8 million in 
June. The number of unemployed people who were jobless 5 to 14 
weeks decreased by 3.3 million to 11.5 million and accounted for 
65.2 percent of the unemployed. The number of people who were 
jobless 15 to 26 weeks increased by 825,000 to 1.9 million. The 
number searching for work for 27 weeks or more rose by 227,000 
to 1.4 million.
      The labor force participation rate increased by 0.7 
percentage point in June to 61.5 percent but is 1.9 percentage 
points below its February level. Total employment, as measured 
by the household survey, rose by 4.9 million over the month to 
142.2 million. The employment-population ratio increased by 1.8 
percentage points to 54.6 percent but is 6.5 percentage points 
lower than in February.
      The number of people who usually work full time and the 
number who usually work part time both increased by 2.4 million 
over the month, to 118.9 million and 23.2 million, respectively.
      In June, the number of people at work part time for 
economic reasons (also referred to as involuntary part-time 
workers) decreased by 1.6 million to 9.1 million, after little 
change in May. In June, the number of workers affected by this 
type of underemployment was more than double its February level.
      The number of people not in the labor force who currently 
want a job declined by 767,000 in June to 8.2 million, following 
a decline of 954,000 in May. This measure remains 3.2 million 
higher than in February.
      Among those who were not in the labor force in June but 
wanted a job, 2.5 million were considered marginally attached to 
the labor force, little changed over the month. (People who are 
marginally attached to the labor force had not actively looked 
for work in the 4 weeks prior to the survey but wanted a job, 
were available for work, and had looked for a job within the 
last 12 months.) Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally 
attached who believed no jobs were available for them, numbered 
681,000 in June, essentially unchanged over the month.
      As in March, April, and May, special instructions sent to 
household survey interviewers in June called for employed people 
absent from work due to coronavirus-related business closures to 
be classified as unemployed on temporary layoff. Again in June, 
not all such workers were so classified. However, the degree of 
misclassification declined considerably in June.
      BLS and Census Bureau staff have been reviewing survey 
responses that might have been misclassified. The 
misclassification hinges on a question about the main reason 
people were absent from their jobs. If people who were absent 
due to temporary, pandemic-related closures were recorded as 
absent due to "other reasons," they could have been 
misclassified. When interviewers record a response of "other 
reasons," they also add a few words describing that other 
reason. The review of these brief descriptions found that the 
share of responses that may have been misclassified was much 
smaller in June than in prior months. BLS and the Census Bureau 
are continuing to investigate the misclassification and are 
taking additional steps to address the issue.
      As is our usual practice, no ad hoc actions were taken to 
reassign survey responses; the data were accepted as recorded. 
If all the workers who were recorded as employed but absent from 
work due to "other reasons" (over and above the number absent 
for other reasons in a typical June) had been classified as 
unemployed on temporary layoff, the overall unemployment rate 
would have been about 1 percentage point higher than reported 
(on a not seasonally adjusted basis). Our research, which is 
ongoing, indicates that this is an upper bound on the effect of 
misclassification on the unemployment rate and probably 
overstates the size of the misclassification error. Additional 
information is available online at
      Summarizing the labor market developments in June, nonfarm 
payroll employment increased by 4.8 million, and the 
unemployment rate declined to 11.1 percent.

Last Modified Date: September 23, 2020