June was another big month for job growth as employers called back workers from coronavirus-induced layoffs. (The unemployment rate fell to 11.1% as the economy added 4.8 million jobs in June – ed.)
As a resurgence of the disease in the U.S. raises lots of questions about whether the growth can continue, though, I thought it might be informative to take a look back. That is, rather than focus on what happened in June, let’s add up what has happened to payroll employment since February, when this strange, awful adventure began.
“There’s still a lot of hardship and heartbreak in these numbers,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in an uncharacteristically sober reaction to the jobs report. Indeed there is. Nonfarm payroll is down by 14.7 million, or 9.6%, since February, on a seasonally adjusted basis. Every one of the 11 supersectors into which the Bureau of Labor Statistics divides the U.S. economy employs fewer people than it did then, although for some the damage has been far worse than for others.
Employment in financial activities — aka the finance, insurance and real estate sector — has so far been only modestly affected. The leisure and hospitality supersector has, not surprisingly, been by far the hardest hit.