June 5, 2020

May 2020 Jobs Report

Unemployment Rate: 13.3 percent

Jobs Created: 2.5 million

Employment and Unemployment          

  1. The Department of Labor bases monthly jobs reports on a survey of businesses and a survey of households. The survey data relate to the pay period or calendar week containing the 12th day of the month. The report generally will not reflect labor market changes near the end of the month.

  2. By mid-May, more than half of states were letting certain businesses reopen under significant restrictions. While stay-at-home orders continued to expire during May, states are reopening in different ways and to varying degrees, with restrictions on businesses and public health measures in place.

  3. DOL reported the unemployment rate fell 1.4 percentage points to 13.3% in May.

  4. Nonfarm jobs increased by 2.5 million in May.

  5. The department revised the change in nonfarm jobs for March and April down by a combined 642,000 jobs.          

  6. The U-6 unemployment rate, a broader measure that includes part-time and discouraged workers, dropped 1.6 percentage points to 21.2% in May.

Labor Force Participation

  1. The labor force participation rate, the share of people employed or looking for work, rose 0.6 percentage point to 60.8%.


  1. In May, average hourly earnings for all employees in private nonfarm jobs decreased by $0.29 to $29.75, mostly due to more lower-paid workers finding work.

Issue Tags: COVID-19, Labor