Robust hiring at restaurants and bars, local public schools and retailers helped lead the U.S. economy to post 850,000 jobs in June 2021.
Strong hiring in those industries further suggests a booming recovery for those employers that were hit hardest during the Covid-19 pandemic as Americans rush to return to indoor dining and shopping.
CNBC studied the net changes by industry for June jobs based on data contained in the government’s employment report.
The leisure and hospitality sector again proved the brightest point of the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report with 343,000 positions added in June as restaurants hired droves of cooks, bartenders and service staff. The number represents the sector’s second-best print of 2021.
As the industry that saw the most intense layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic, leisure and hospitality has posted a powerful rebound since spring 2020. While the industry lost about half of its entire workforce in between March and April of 2020, June’s jobs report shows that it has now recouped some 73% of those losses.
Leisure and hospitality is about 13% below its pre-pandemic payroll count at 14.7 million employees. Bars and restaurants alone accounted for more than 190,000 payrolls in June.
“Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, professional and business services, retail trade, and other services,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a press release.
“In June, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 343,000, as pandemic-related restrictions continued to ease in some parts of the country,” the bureau added. “Over half of the job gain [in that sector] was in food services and drinking places.”
Bartender Andy Bechtol makes cocktails to go at Caffe Dante bar and restaurant in Manhattan as the Coronavirus, COVID19, outbreak continued unabated on March 19, 2020 in New York City.
Victor J. Blue | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Taking the No. 2 position for June was government employment as local school districts hired teachers, bus drivers and other public education staff in preparation for students’ return in the fall. While public sector payrolls increased by 188,000 across the board, local government education accounted for 155,200 of the net job gain.
“The continued progress for the leisure and hospitality sector is excellent news. Continued payroll gains for these industries hit so hard by the pandemic is a sign that more workers can quickly return to work,” wrote Nick Bunker, an economist with job-search website Indeed.
Retail notched a strong month in June as consumers returned to indoor shopping at apparel shops, malls and other previously closed venues. Its net addition of 67,100 jobs represents the sector’s best figure since October, when the industry hired 106,500 ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Over the month, clothing and clothing accessories stores added 28,000 positions, general merchandise stores tacked on 25,000 and automobile dealers gained 8,000.
“There’s still quite a bit of damage left to repair,” Bunker added. “But today’s report suggests that we may rebuild sooner rather than later.”
— CNBC’s Crystal Mercedes contributed reporting.
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