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US economy in May added 559,000 new jobs, improved on weak April numbers in measured COVID recovery

The U.S. economy continue to recover at a measured pace as the COVID-19 number continue to decline.

Updated: June 4, 2021 - 11:13am

The U.S. economy in May added 559,000 new jobs, falling slightly short of forecasts of roughly 650,000 new hires, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The number is another sign the country continues to slowly climb out of the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic that began nearly 15 months ago.

The May number is a significant improvement from the April number of 266,000 new jobs – as such factors as extended, virus-related job benefits, concerns about contracting the virus and affordable daycare continuing to slow the recovery. 

"Since I took office, more jobs than ever been created in the first four months of any presidency in modern history, triple the rate of my predecessor, eight times the rate of President Reagan. The unemployment rate is now below 6% for the first time since the pandemic hit,” President Biden said during a speech Friday in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, touting the new jobs report.

The unemployment rate in May fell to 5.8%, from 6.1% in April.

The department also said Friday that "notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, in public and private education, and in health care and social assistance."