Nonfarm payrolls rose by 2.509 million jobs last month, after a record plunge of 20.687 million in April.
And after having lost nearly 21 million jobs in April, the economy gained back 2.5 million jobs in May. "A lot of people who had to go into work whether it's a meatpacking plant or a factory, tend to be minorities and their jobs are going to come back more slowly".
But job losses in March and April were steeper than the Labor Department had initially reported, with 642,000 more jobs lost than the 21.4 million first reported, bringing the two months' job losses to 22 million.
A separate report showing state data on weekly initial claims for unemployment benefits show over 42 million people have lost their jobs, at least temporarily, since mid-March when the shutdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19 began.
President Donald Trump says the numbers prove the economy is recovering.
"The rise is a big surprise given that consensus estimates had called for a loss of 7.5 million jobs and a further increase in the unemployment rate", Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities, wrote in an analysis. While unemployment was supposed to have fallen for Chicanos and Latinos, they still had the highest rate, more than 5% higher than whites. Before the pandemic, their unemployment rate was lower than it was for black men.
Trump Says Lower Unemployment Rate 'A Great Day' For George Floyd
"Hopefully George is looking down and saying this is a great thing that's happening for our country". Now, though, Trump said states and cities should be lifting remaining restrictions.
However, the unemployment rate is still on par with numbers seen during the Great Depression, the report said.
Government payrolls, however, extended declines, with these falling by 585,000 after a drop of 963,000 in April.
The FBI in March forecasted a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, noting in a report that the warning was made "based on the assumption that a portion of the US public will associate COVID-19 with China and Asian American populations".
Employment in May was boosted by restaurants and bars, which added 1.4 million jobs after losing 6 million in April and March. More than 10 million people indicated they were working part-time because of economic conditions, either business conditions have worsened or they could only find part-time work. The unexpected job gains included 13,200 in accounting and bookkeeping.
"If this sticks, and my guess is it will, we're seeing a faster reopening than most expected, and a quicker unleashing of pent-up demand", economist Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said on Twitter. Child care services also added 44,000 jobs. With the Great Recession, it took until 2016 for the unemployment rate to return to pre-downturn levels. Another private survey, the ADP National Employment Report, showed a loss of 2.75 million private sector jobs, as opposed to the official report of a gain of 3 million jobs.
While around half of the jobs were secured in leisure and hospitality, employment was also up in construction, education, and health services. Small businesses, however, have been continuing to take a big hit over the past month, despite the BLS's rosier jobs report.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, US employers would have to replicate the strong gains from the May jobs report for the next seven months to return the country to where it was in February.