U.S. Jobs Market Reclaims Positive Momentum in May 2021 Report
As summer draws nearer and more workplace re-openings occur across the country, the job market has steadily improved in the past month. Total employment rose by 559,000 in May 2021, while the unemployment rate declined by 0.3% to 5.8%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
After a disappointing April jobs report, May’s job prospects are more promising. Several sectors that faced drastic repercussions from the pandemic are making significant improvements. The leisure and hospitality sectors, which gained 292,000 jobs, are making bounds, and expected to continue improving over the next few months in time for peak vacation season.
Over 140,000 jobs were added to public, state, and private schools across the U.S., all of which took heavy blows from coronavirus lockdowns and remote learning. In other sectors, healthcare and social assistance added 46,000 jobs, while professional and business services accounted for 35,000.
Despite positive changes for a few industries, labor force participation in the country at its lowest level in 40 years – still down 1.5% percent, or about 3.5 million people, from where it was before the pandemic began. According to NBC News, current labor force participation is still lower than it was right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks or during the 2007 to 2009 recession.
Despite the uptick in jobs, labor force participation is still low. This is consistent with the pattern seen in past months — there are more roles available than people looking to fill them. While there is some debate as to the reason for the shortage — including generous unemployment benefits and child-care issues preventing parents from rejoining the workforce — economists remain hopeful we will see a rebound in the coming months.