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COVID-19

June’s jobs gains weren’t just big. They were widespread across the economy.

Maria Hollenhorst and Kai Ryssdal Jul 2, 2020
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Personal and laundry services, which includes dry cleaners, laundromats and other businesses, was among the many sectors that expanded payrolls in June. Cindy Ord/Getty Images
COVID-19

June’s jobs gains weren’t just big. They were widespread across the economy.

Maria Hollenhorst and Kai Ryssdal Jul 2, 2020
Heard on:
Personal and laundry services, which includes dry cleaners, laundromats and other businesses, was among the many sectors that expanded payrolls in June. Cindy Ord/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Though the U.S. economy still has far fewer jobs than it did before widespread pandemic shutdowns began, the Labor Department reported on Thursday that a record-breaking 4.8 million jobs were added to payrolls in June. But the gains weren’t just notable in magnitude, they were also widespread across industries. 

“In general, the job growth in June was pretty broad-based,” said Martha Gimbel, senior manager of economic research at Schmidt Futures. “Almost all industries are gaining jobs.”

About 40% of the jobs gained were in the leisure and hospitality industry. But there were also jobs added in retail, education and health services, manufacturing and professional and business services. 

“The only industry that’s really still losing jobs overall is mining and logging,” Gimbel said. 

The diffusion index, a measure of the breadth of job gains or losses across industries, jumped for the second month in a row

“So what the diffusion index is telling us is that this was in fact a pretty broad-based adding of jobs across industries,” Gimbel said. 

An important caveat to keep in mind, however, is that the data we’re seeing now was collected back in the second week of June. That’s before daily new cases of COVID-19 started spiking again

“We don’t know how the surge in COVID-19 cases has impacted the labor market,” Gimbel said. When it comes to what we know about which industries will make it through this crisis, she said, “it’s just too soon to tell.”

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

So what’s up with “Zoom fatigue”?

It’s a real thing. The science backs it up — there’s new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining? Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab puts it this way: “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up.” Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing.

How are Americans spending their money these days?

Economists are predicting that pent-up demand for certain goods and services is going to burst out all over as more people get vaccinated. A lot of people had to drastically change their spending in the pandemic because they lost jobs or had their hours cut. But at the same time, most consumers “are still feeling secure or optimistic about their finances,” according to Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, which regularly surveys shoppers. A lot of people enjoy browsing in stores, especially after months of forced online shopping. And another area expecting a post-pandemic boost: travel.

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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