The June jobs report showed the unemployment rate falling to 11.1% after the US added a record 4.8 million jobs but the reality is more complicated.
Data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the economy added a second consecutive month of better-than-expected job growth after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.
But even as most states reopen, the economy is still down a net total of 14.7 million jobs.
Though the unemployment rate has ticked down from 14.7%, the current 11.1% rate is higher than it was at any point during the Great Recession.
And despite the reopenings, 1.4 million people filed first-time unemployment claims last week.
Jobs report more rosy than reality:
Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell noted that the payroll numbers are based on conditions from mid-June.
There are “a number of reasons to believe things have stalled or deteriorated since then, as covid cases spike, governors re-close restaurants, etc,” she wrote.
Since mid-June, coronavirus infections have spiked in Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, South Carolina, and other states.
Texas and California, the two biggest states in the country, have paused their reopenings and ordered some indoor bars and restaurants to close or scale back capacity.
States like New York and New Jersey, which were poised to reopen indoor dining and bars next week, have likewise paused their reopenings as a result of the spikes around the country.
Jobs report could sink unemployment aid:
The jobs report comes as Republicans push back against extending the $600-per-week federal unemployment benefits in the next phase of coronavirus relief.
“Perversely, today's higher-than-expected payroll growth numbers might reduce pressure on Senate to get another coronavirus relief bill through. That would be a tremendous mistake,” Rampell wrote. “If federal aid doesn't come soon, we should expect many more public sector layoffs and service cuts. There's bipartisan support for providing fiscal help -- and the House has already passed a bill -- but GOP Senate leaders don't plan finalize their own bill until the end of July.”