Unemployment Rate in U.S. Fell in May: Live Updates

Construction and leisure and hospitality, sectors where Hispanic workers are heavily represented, rebounded sharply in May. It is too soon to tell with just one month of data, but it could also reflect the beginning of a common recession pattern: job losses for black workers often continue even as the tide turns and white workers in particular begin to return to work.

Black workers did recoup some jobs, but not enough to offset the increase in the number of adults applying for employment. The employment-to-population ratio for black workers ticked up to 49.6 percent, up from 48.8 percent the prior month. Still, that means that less than half of black adults are working — worse than any other large racial or ethnic group.

The jobs report could deflate congressional efforts to enact another round of stimulus.

The unexpected upswing in the monthly jobs report on Friday threw into doubt the prospects of another coronavirus stimulus bill, threatening to further temper Republicans’ willingness to provide additional relief.

“Goodbye phase 4,” a Republican official wrote in a text message on Friday morning after the numbers were released, encapsulating a sense among lawmakers and aides that the figures would sap what little enthusiasm there was for more.

Others conceded privately that some relief package was still likely to materialize, but with a substantially lower price tag and a narrower focus on modifying existing programs, rather than creating new ones.

Republicans had already thrown cold water on the idea of another stimulus package on top of the nearly $2.8 trillion already enacted, warning of soaring deficits and arguing that they wanted to see how the economy responded before doling out more money.

A number of new programs and economic lifelines expire later this summer, giving Congress a hard deadline to decide whether to extend the benefits or modify them to adjust for the country’s economic state. Those include an enhanced package of unemployment benefits that lapse at the end of July, which Republicans had already said they opposed extending.

Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.

  • An aviation dispute between the Trump administration and China appears to be softening, with the United States on Friday saying it will allow Chinese carriers to collectively operate two weekly round-trip flights to the United States. The announcement comes two days after the Transportation Department said it would ban all such flights in response to a similar ban on American passenger flights to and from China. After the department made that announcement, the Chinese government said it would allow two American airlines to operate weekly flights, paving the way for the reversal on Friday.

  • Gap, one of the biggest U.S. retailers with its namesake, Old Navy and Banana Republic chains, said on Thursday that net sales in the first quarter plummeted 43 percent to $2.1 billion and that it posted a net loss of $932 million. The company, which has nearly 2,800 stores in North America, said that it had reopened more than 1,500 locations and expected the “vast majority” of stores to be open by the end of June.

  • Slack, the business communication platform, said in a regulatory filing that its first-quarter revenue rose 50 percent to $201.7 million and a small loss compared with the same period last year. But the results disappointed investors, who expected greater growth during the pandemic, and its shares plunged.

Reporting was contributed by Katie Glueck, Astead W. Herndon, Alicia Parlapiano, Niraj Chokshi, Conor Dougherty, Peter Eavis, Ben Casselman, Anupreeta Das, Peter Eavis, Vanessa Friedman, Mohammed Hadi, Sapna Maheshwari, Gregory Schmidt, Carlos Tejada and Kevin Granville.

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