Since states and cities started easing the restrictions placed on businesses to deter the spread of the coronavirus, more people have returned to work. In June the unemployment rate for adults age 55 and older dropped to 9.7 percent, a decrease from 11.8 percent one month earlier, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The monthly BLS report shows encouraging signs that the labor market is starting to bounce back. The nation added 4.8 million jobs in June, making the overall unemployment rate 11.1 percent, down from 13.3 percent in May. There were, however, still 3.65 million people age 55 and older who were unemployed in June. And during the second week of July, another 1.3 million workers filed first-time unemployment claims, bring the total during the pandemic to more than 50 million.
"As with the job market more broadly, the unemployment rate for more senior workers is down from recent highs but still very much elevated,” says Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for Bankrate. “The dividing line between employed and unemployed during this downturn has been more about sectors involved than age."
In fact, many of the positions added in June were in fields that were hit hard with job losses earlier in the pandemic and that may struggle once more as states begin to enact restrictions on businesses once more to stem the coronavirus. Even so, there has been notable progress in getting people back to work. Here are 10 occupations that bounced back in June.
1. Leisure and hospitality workers
June employment: 2,088,000 jobs added
May employment: 1,403,000 jobs added
April employment: 7,575,000 jobs lost
"Leisure and hospitality, including bars and restaurants, and retailing have been on the leading edge of the rise in joblessness,” Hamrick says. “As restrictions have lifted and, in some cases, returned again more recently with spikes in COVID-19, there's been a reversal of the earlier negative trends along with risk of renewed unemployment."
2. Retail workers
June employment: 739,800 jobs added
May employment: 371,500 jobs added
April employment: 2,299,000 jobs lost
In June many state and local governments began to ease the restrictions they placed on nonessential stores and showplaces to deter the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, thousands of workers were able to either return to their jobs or find new positions in sales. According to BLS data, roughly 7.9 million people age 55 and older work in sales.
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3. Health care and social assistance workers
June employment: 474,900 jobs added
May employment: 369,500 jobs added
April employment: 2,135,500 jobs lost
Early in the pandemic, many hospitals and health care facilities suspended elective medical procedures so valuable resources could be focused on those who had been infected with the coronavirus. In recent months some facilities have resumed these procedures, bringing back their workers. According to a study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 34.6 percent of health care workers are age 50 and older.