US job growth continued to surge forward with 850,000 new jobs added in June, the largest monthly increase since August 2020, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nebraska and South Dakota unemployment rates are now below the pre-pandemic levels. And 14 states now have a bigger civilian labor force than before the pandemic.
As the economy recovers, US employment is 4.4% below the February 2020 total of 152.5 million jobs. The national unemployment rate slightly increased from 5.8% to 5.9%.
Leisure and hospitality continue to lead on job creation. The sector added 343,000 jobs to the economy in June, a 2.4% increase. The sector still has 13% fewer positions in than in February 2020.
The government was second largest contributor to job growth, adding a net total of 188,000 jobs. Most of those were in public education, growing by 155,000 jobs at the local level and 75,000 at the state level. The BLS cites “staffing fluctuations due to the pandemic, in part reflecting the return to in-person learning and other school-related activities” as a likely reason. Leisure and government accounted for 62.5% of total job growth in June.
Average hourly June earnings outperformed May by 10 cents, reaching a new high of $30.40. This marks the highest inflation-adjusted average since the BLS started reporting data in 2006.
The pandemic’s impact on the labor force waned, with 36% or 900,000 fewer people citing it as a reason for not seeking a job compared to May. About 14% of people worked from home in June, a 2.2% decrease since last month.
Non-farm payroll employment increased in 25 states, according to state-level data from the BLS. Only Alaska had employment decrease between May and June, dropping 0.9%. Arizona and Nevada had the highest percentage increase in employment at 1.3% and 1.2%.
Unemployment rates decreased in seven states and Washington, DC. It rose in Florida, Iowa, and Kansas and remained stable in the rest of the US.
Connecticut and New Mexico had the highest unemployment rates at 7.9%, 2 percentage points above the national average. Nebraska and Utah had the lowest unemployment rates at 2.5% and 2.7%, respectively.
Nebraska and South Dakota are the only two states in the US with unemployment rates back to pre-pandemic levels. Fourteen states had higher civilian labor force levels in June than they did in February 2020. Oregon, Oklahoma, and Utah’s civilian labor force grew the most since the pandemic’s start, compared to other states.
Keep tabs on the economy’s recovery from the pandemic with the USAFacts Recovery Hub.
Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect the inflation-adjusted average hourly earnings in the period from 2006 to 2019. The previous version of the graph did not adjust those figures to 2020 dollars.
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