BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Fewer jobs added to US economy in May than expected

Jun 4, 2021, 7:06 PM
US jobs economy...
FILE - This May 7, 2020, file photo shows a man wearing a mask while walking under a Now Hiring sign at a CVS Pharmacy during the coronavirus outbreak in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Coming out of the pandemic, the US economy picked up 559,000 new jobs in May, but economists had predicted 650,000 additional jobs for the month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that the US unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage points to 5.8 percent from 6.1 percent from the previous month.  

April’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in Utah is estimated at 2.8%, according to the state Department of Workforce Services.

Utah is among 25 states that are ending enhanced unemployment benefits. The $300 weekly federal bonus comes to an end on June 26 in the Beehive State.

“I believe in the value of work. With the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.9% and plenty of good-paying jobs available today, it makes sense to transition away from these extra benefits that were never intended to be permanent. The market should not be competing with government for workers,” Gov. Spencer Cox said last month while announcing the end of the added jobless benefit as reported by Deseret News.

Zions Bank Senior economist Robert Spendlove said there are two major factors keeping Utahns from returning to work.

“Number one is we need to get more people vaccinated. Right now we’re 63%. The goal is to really get that up to 70% so people feel more competent coming back into the workplace. The other one is child care. People are having a hard time finding child care, so they can’t get back to work like they’d like to,” Spendlove said.

Spendlove said the state was adding manufacturing jobs but two other job sectors were not.

“Guess what’s really surprising? Construction employment is down 20,000 [jobs]. This month, retail is down 6,000. There’s so much demand for workers, employers are trying to hire them back, but they’re having a really hard time finding workers to fill these needs,” Spendlove said.

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