Waiters in a Texas restaurant. Waiters in a Texas restaurant. (Photo: Callaghan O’Hare/Bloomberg)

America’s labor market unexpectedly rebounded in May, signaling the economy is picking up faster than thought from the depths of the damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 2.5 million after a 20.7 million tumble the prior month that was the largest in records back to 1939, according to Labor Department data Friday. The jobless rate fell to 13.3% from 14.7%.

Economist forecasts had called for a decline of 7.5 million in payrolls and a jump in the unemployment rate to 19%.

Unemployment, payrolls, May 2020

Treasury yields and U.S. stock futures jumped after the report, while the dollar spiked against the yen.

“These improvements in the labor market reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it,” the Labor Department said in a statement.

– With assistance from Edith Moy and Chris Middleton.

— Check out How to Handle Clients Who Lose Jobs in the Pandemic on ThinkAdvisor.

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