For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the unemployment rate has dipped below 6%. With a 0.3 point drop from April of 2021, the unemployment rate for May of 2021 was 5.8%. The number of unemployed persons fell by almost half a million, with 496,000 less unemployed persons.
More than half a million additional jobs were also added to the workforce in May of 2021 with 559,000 jobs added. The number of people not in the labor force who currently want a job, however, remained unchanged for yet another month.
In May, 7.9 million people reported they had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic. This number is down from the previous month’s 9.4 million people.
As pandemic restrictions quickly disappear and more and more people become fully vaccinated, we are seeing companies in leisure and hospitality starting to hire up with expectations of increased business this summer.
Of the 559,000 jobs added to the workforce in May, 278,000 of those job gains were in leisure and hospitality. With notable job gains in food services, drinking places, amusements, gambling, and recreation, we can see a trend in leisure and hospitality companies preparing for heavier foot traffic and increased business in the coming months.
Over the last few months, we have seen the number of people teleworking due to the coronavirus pandemic drop quickly. From 21% of employees teleworking in March of 2021, to May’s percentage of 16.6% of people teleworking, we can assume that as more individuals become vaccinated and feel safer in office environments, this percentage will continue to decrease.
With over half a million jobs added to the workforce, some industries saw notable job changes in May of 2021. Employment help services, for example, rose by 7,500 jobs. Other notable changes are as follows:
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Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021b, June 4). The Employment Situation - May 2021 [Press release]. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf