Reflections on the May 2020 BLS Report


Today, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Employment Situation report for May 2020. This release shows positive changes as the country slowly begins reopening, and defies many economist predictions for another month of declines.

BLS Employment Situation Graph May 2020Graphs from BLS Employment Situation Report

Overall, total employment rose by 2.5 million in May, and the unemployment rate declined to 13.3%. While only a small improvement from the drastic losses in April, this improvement is a direct result of states slowly beginning to allow businesses to reopen and many furloughed or laid off workers returning to their jobs as consumer activity picks up.

Employment rose most sharply in leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services, and retail. This is a positive sign, as many of these industries were the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 1.2 million, following losses of 7.5 million in April and 743,000 in March. Over the month, employment in food services and drinking places rose by 1.4 million, accounting for about half of the gain in total employment in May.

In hiring, with current high-unemployment numbers, we would expect to see job searches steadily climbing as well. While Talroo Insights™ data for April showed less job seeker activity, recent data shows an increase in available job postings and an increase in overall job seeker activity. Talroo will release an infographic next week highlighting some of these changes in detail.

In June, we expect hiring to continue picking up pace as more companies return to ‘business as usual.’ While a full economic recovery might still be far off, many Americans were ready to get out of their homes to resume shopping, dining out, traveling, and accessing services like haircuts and pet grooming. As businesses reopened, Americans were quick to start picking up economic activity and businesses continue to be able to return more workers to their jobs.

Topics: Recruiting Industry

Updated June 11, 2020