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It's a surprisingly positive reading in the midst of a recession that has paralyzed the economy. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Falling unemployment rate suggests businesses are bringing workers back amid COVID-19

Associated Press Jun 5, 2020
It's a surprisingly positive reading in the midst of a recession that has paralyzed the economy. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, and 2.5 million jobs were added — a surprisingly positive reading in the midst of a recession that has paralyzed the economy and depressed the job market in the wake of the viral pandemic.

The May job gain suggests that businesses have quickly been recalling workers as states have reopened their economies. There has been other evidence that the job market meltdown triggered by the coronavirus has bottomed out. 

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?

Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.

How has the pandemic changed scientific research?

Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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