U.S. Adds 850,000 Jobs in June as Firms Rush to Staff Up for the Post-COVID Economy

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Chef David Viramontes, 32, attends a job fair for restaurant and hotel workers in Torrance, Calif., June 23, 2021. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

The U.S. added 850,000 new jobs in June, beating economists’ expectations by 150,000 jobs, the Labor Department announced Friday.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate saw a slight increase to 5.9 percent from 5.8 percent.

The report also revised May’s non-farm payroll additions to 583,000, an increase of 24,000.

The biggest payroll gains last month came in leisure and hospitality, which was hit hardest in the early days of the pandemic. Those industries added back 343,000 jobs in June, following the addition of 306,000 jobs one month earlier. However, leisure and hospitality are still down 2.4 million jobs compared to February 2020 levels.

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The jobs report comes as a new poll from Indeed released this week showed that only about 10 percent of unemployed workers say they’re “actively” and “urgently” looking for work.

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While there are roughly 10 million unemployed Americans and over 9 million open positions, around 30 percent of respondents said they plan to find a job soon but are not looking at all now. Another 45 percent said they are passively searching for roles.

Republicans have called to end federal unemployment benefits of $300-per-week ahead of the September expiration in order to bring Americans back into the workforce.

At least 26 states have so far announced they will cut off federal unemployment programs ahead of the September 6 expiration.

States that announced an end to the enhanced benefits this month saw a 13.8 percent decrease in residents receiving benefits from mid-May through June 12, according to an analysis by Jefferies LLC first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, states that plan to end federal unemployment in July saw a 10 percent decline in residents receiving state benefits over the same period and states ending federal unemployment in September recorded a 5.7 percent decline.

Meanwhile, according to data released by the Labor Department last week, 18 of the top 20 states for jobs recovered since the pandemic have Republican-controlled legislatures. Sixteen of those 18 states have Republican governors as well.

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Additionally, 17 out of the top 20 states with the lowest unemployment rates have GOP- controlled legislatures.

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