U.S. jobs picture is on the mend, with caveats

A Brandon Motor Lodge displays a “Help Wanted” sign in Brandon, Florida, June 1, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones

WASHINGTON, July 2 (Reuters Breakingviews) – The U.S. economy’s addition of 850,000 jobs in June means about 70% of positions lost in the pandemic have now been regained. Still, there are signs the recovery remains uneven, like the increase in those who have been out of work for at least 27 weeks.

Payrolls rose by only 269,000 in April. May brought a 583,000 increase. The June figure beat economists’ estimates, according to a Reuters survey read more . Leisure and hospitality added 343,000 jobs. That sector is back in bloom: In recent weeks, the number of U.S. seated restaurant diners finally returned to 2019 levels, according to reservations app OpenTable.

But weaknesses remain. The number of long-term unemployed rose by 233,000 to 4 million. The rate of women who are out of work ticked up, too. Other markers important to the Federal Reserve are also still falling short read more . For instance, the Black unemployment rate rose slightly to 9.2% last month, a move in the wrong direction. Until disadvantaged groups benefit more, the central bank won’t want to take its foot off the monetary gas. (By Gina Chon)

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Editing by Richard Beales and Amanda Gomez

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