Hiring in the United States picked up in May yet was slowed again by the struggles of many companies to find enough workers to keep up with the economy’s swift recovery from the pandemic recession.
U.S. employers added 559,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday, an improvement from April’s sluggish increase of 278,000. Yet the gain fell well short of employers’ need for labor. The unemployment rate fell to 5.8% from 6.1%.
The speed of the rebound, fueled by substantial federal aid and rising vaccinations, has created a disconnect between businesses and the unemployed: While companies are rushing to add workers immediately, many of the unemployed are still holding back. Some of the jobless are likely seeking better positions than they had before the pandemic triggered widespread layoffs; or they still lack affordable child care. Others may have concerns about contracting COVID-19 or have decided to retire early. And a temporary $300-a-week federal unemployment benefit, on top of regular state jobless aid, has likely led many unemployed Americans to take time to consider their options.