The US economy regained 2.5 million jobs in May as coronavirus pandemic shutdowns began to ease, sending the unemployment rate falling to 13.3 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday.
The result defied even the most optimistic expectations among economists, who had been expecting job losses of more than eight million and a jobless rate of 20 percent or higher.
President Donald Trump immediately cheered the data, tweeting, “Really Big Jobs Report. Great going President Trump (kidding but true)!”
The report attributed the improvements to “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.”
However, as it has for the past two months, the Labor Department said the jobless rate was likely three points higher due to errors in how workers described their job status.
ALSO READ: How technology can check youth unemployment
Still, with states allowing businesses to reopen, employment last month rose sharply in leisure and hospitality, construction, retail trade and education and health services, according to the data.
The number of workers on temporary layoff declined by 2.7 million to 15.3 million in a sign people have been able to return to their jobs.
The gains came despite downward revisions to March and April that subtracted another 690,000 jobs.
And government employment continued to decline sharply, dropping by 585,000 positions.