WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gains in rubber employment helped the U.S. joblessness rate to drop unexpectedly in May as the nation's economy starts to reopen.
Employment increased by 2.5 million jobs last month, pushing the unemployment rate down to 13.3%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That's a drop of nearly 10% from the 14.7% rate posted in April.
The manufacturing sector saw employment increase by 225,000. That gain was "evenly split between the durable and nondurable goods components," the bureau said, and follows a 1.3 million decline in employment in that sector in April.
The employment increase included 30,000 workers in the rubber and plastics segment, according to the bureau.
"In May, employment rose in several major industry sectors, with the largest gains in leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services, and retail trade. By contrast, employment in government continued to decline sharply," BLS Commissioner William Beach said in a statement.
The BLS also noted that average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls fell by 29 cents to $29.75, following a gain of $1.35 in April. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees decreased by 14 cents to $25.00 in May.
The decreases in average hourly earnings largely reflect job gains among lower-paid workers, the BLS said.