News • 20.07.2021

Employment situation in the U.S. in June 2021 due to Corona pandemic

Worse numbers compared to pre-pandemic level but recovery is in progress

graph shows the U.S. employment rate from June 2019 until June 2021...
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 850,000 in June 2021 compared to May, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 5.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, professional and business services, retail trade, and other services. 

Employment situation in the U.S. 

Both the unemployment rate, at 5.9 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 9.5 million, were little changed in June compared to May. These measures are down considerably from their recent highs in April 2020 but remain well above their levels prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020).  

Among the unemployed, the number of job leavers – that is, unemployed persons who quit or voluntarily left their previous job and began looking for new employment – increased by 164,000 to 942,000 in June. The number of persons on temporary layoff, at 1.8 million, was essentially unchanged over the month. This measure is down considerably from the high of 18.0 million in April 2020 but is 1.1 million above the February 2020 level. The number of permanent job losers, at 3.2 million, was also essentially unchanged over the month but is 1.9 million higher than in February 2020. In June, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 233,000 to 4.0 million, following a decline of 431,000 in May. This measure is 2.9 million higher than in February 2020. These long-term unemployed accounted for 42.1 percent of the total unemployed in June. The number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks, at 2.0 million, changed little in June. 

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons decreased by 644,000 to 4.6 million in June. This decline reflected a drop in the number of persons whose hours were cut due to slack work or business conditions. The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons is up by 229,000 since February 2020. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. 

Employment by economic sectors

 Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 850,000 in June, following increases of 583,000 in May and 269,000 in April. In June, nonfarm payroll employment is up by 15.6 million since April 2020 but is down by 6.8 million, or 4.4 percent, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. Notable job gains in June occurred in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, professional and business services, retail trade, and other services. 

Retail trade added 67,000 jobs in June, but employment is down by 303,000, or 1.9 percent, since February 2020. Over the month, job growth in clothing and clothing accessories stores (+28,000), general merchandise stores (+25,000), miscellaneous store retailers (+13,000), and automobile dealers (+8,000) was partially offset by losses in food and beverage stores (-13,000) and health and personal care stores (-7,000). 

 In June, wholesale trade added 21,000 jobs, with gains in both the durable and nondurable goods components (+14,000 and +9,000, respectively). Employment in wholesale trade is 192,000 lower than in February 2020.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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