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US added 559,000 jobs in May, lowering unemployment rate to 5.8%

Posted at 7:36 AM, Jun 04, 2021

The U.S. added 559,000 jobs in the month of May as the country continues to work itself out of an economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The addition of over half a million jobs lowered the country's unemployment rate 0.3% to 5.8%.

The report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics represents a modest gain, though less than the gain of 650,000 that economists expected, according to a poll conducted by Refinitiv.

However, May's report represents an increase from the disappointing April jobs report, which saw the U.S. add only 266,000 jobs. That small April gain fell well short of economists' expectations of a massive increase, given the soaring vaccination rate across the country.

While the U.S. economy continues to add jobs, it still has a ways to go before it reaches pre-pandemic employment levels. The jobs report released Friday says that overall, nonfarm payroll employment is down by 7.6 million or 5% from 2020 pre-pandemic levels. That means that if the U.S. continues to add jobs at its current rate of 560,000 a month, the U.S. won't reach pre-pandemic employment levels for another 13 months.

In remarks from Delaware, President Joe Biden touted the April report as "great news for America," highlighting gains made in the manufacturing sector. He also noted that since data from the April report was collected, an additional 21 million adults had been vaccinated, sparking hope that employment would rise in the near future.

"No major economy in the world is growing faster than ours. No major economy is gaining more jobs than ours," Biden said.

Biden also noted that "while progress is visible, it is not ensured." He encouraged more Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent further outbreaks and potential economic slowdowns and called for the passage of his proposed infrastructure and investment package which he said would further raise employment levels.