The U.S. economy gained a whopping 4.8 million jobs in the month of June, bringing the unemployment rate to 11.1 percent and roundly beating economist expectations.
The June data, released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — one day early, in deference to the July Fourth holiday — reflects a labor market that is slowly healing from the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Economists had expected an increase of 3 million new jobs and an unemployment rate of 12.3 percent — though a large element of uncertainty prevailed, after May’s surprise gain of 2.5 million jobs, when economists had predicted a loss of as much as 8 million positions.
President Donald Trump touted the job numbers as representing the “largest jobs gain in the history of our country,” during a news briefing on Thursday morning. “Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back. It’s coming back extremely strong.”
Trump specifically praised the 356,000 gains in manufacturing, which, he said, were “because of our great trade policy.”
Although the number of total jobs added is huge by any historical measure, the economy is still a long way from back to normal, said Dan North, senior economist at Euler Hermes North America. “It still is only chipping away at the 22 million or so jobs we lost,” he said.