Unemployment rate drops and 2.5 million jobs added, after states reopened

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The federal unemployment rate dropped in May for the first time since the coronavirus sent the economy into a tailspin, the strongest sign yet that the economic damage is bottoming out — although 21 million people remain out of work.

The economy gained 2.5 million jobs in May, the first time it has added jobs since February, as hundreds of thousands of workers flooded back to jobs in restaurants, health care and construction with the reopening of several states in mid-May.

The May unemployment rate dropped to 13.3 percent from 14.7 percent. The positive news was complicated by the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics said it had misclassified data in May, as it had in April and March. Without the error, the unemployment rate would be higher: 16.3 percent for May, down from 19.7 percent for April, the agency said.

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Original Source: By Eli Rosenberg and Heather Long Washington Post

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