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US Job Market Shows Improvement

Signs are posted at the Illinois Department of Employment Security on June 5, 2020, in Chicago.

Although the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) monthly report issued Friday, for those who lost their jobs permanently due to the coronavirus pandemic, searching for a new job represents a challenge.

It was a larger decline than most analysts expected and down from 14.7 percent in April, but at 13.3 percent rate, unemployment is remains high and devastating for many families. Further, the May jobless rate remains on par with what the U.S. experienced during the Great Depression from 1929-33.

However, the BLS noted in its report that “if the workers who were recorded as employed but absent from work due to ‘other reasons’ had been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff”, the overall unemployment rate would have been about 19.7 percent in April and 16.3 percent in May.

Comparing the data for both months, however, the figures still show improvement in the job market.

The U.S. Labor Department said Friday the economy regained 2.5 million jobs in May after losing more than 22 million jobs in March and April.

The better-than-expected May report suggests thousands of U.S. businesses reopened and brought back workers more quickly than predicted.

It could take months, however, before those who lost jobs in March and April return to the work force, prompting some economists to predict the jobless rate could remain in double-digits into next year.

The June BLS report is due on July 2.