US employers added 850K jobs in June, led by leisure sector

Led by restaurants, hotels and other niches in the leisure industry, U.S. employers added 850,000 jobs in June according to Friday estimates by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The new hiring did not dent the unemployment rate, which rose by a tenth of a point from May to 5.9 percent, as more people actively began looking for work. Extra unemployment benefits are scheduled to hit their sunset in September that include an additional $300 in weekly pay.

About 9.5 million people nationally are classified as unemployed, a figure that does not include “shadow” unemployment among some who are working at hours or pay insufficient to meet their needs. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that triggered mass layoffs a year ago, about 5.7 million people were out of work.

Connecticut’s unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in May, with the state Department of Labor scheduled to publish its June estimate in two weeks. As of June, unemployment benefits recipients must demonstrate they are actively looking for work. On Thursday, the U.S. Deparment of Labor reported receiving more than 6,500 initial claims for unemployment insurance from Connecticut residents, the highest total since mid-April.

Bill Vallano, CEO of Workforce Alliance in New Haven which runs American Job Centers there and in Middletown, Meriden and Hamden, expressed surprise that more Connecticut residents have yet to seek assistance in finding work.

“The customer traffic has been increasing very modestly,” Vallano said Friday. “There’s still 130,000 people that are out of work. There are jobs out there.”

DOL’s June jobs estimate exceeded that of ADP earlier this week, in its own monthly assessment of jobs based on payroll data. ADP calculated that private-sector employers tacked on 692,000 jobs in June, the third highest total dating back to July 2020, while dropping from the May high of 886,000 new jobs.

DOL reported signs that average pay rates inched up in June as employers attempted to fill openings.

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