Americans were greeted Thursday morning with some very welcome and encouraging news: the U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs last month.

Here are the highlights of the June jobs report:

    • June’s 4.8 million jobs created is easily the largest monthly job gain in U.S. history.

    • The unemployment rate fell from 13.3 percent to 11.1 percent.  Employment increased significantly in some of the parts of our economy hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak: leisure & hospitality, retail, education & health services, and manufacturing.

    • The economy’s performance smashed forecasters’ expectations by 1.7 million jobs – more than the total population of Hawaii.  The unemployment rate fell by 1.4 percentage points more than expected.

    • The 4.8 million jobs created in June, together with the 2.7 million jobs added in May, represent the recovery of roughly one third of the COVID-related job losses in March and April.

This is the second consecutive month of historic job gains, which shows the U.S. economy is poised to come back strong once the COVID-19 threat is behind us.  It also shows that programs like the Paycheck Protection Program are helping keep our economy afloat.  

To be sure, challenges remain.  Far too many Americans are out of work, some states have chosen to pause or reverse their reopening plans, and we still don’t have a vaccine.  

(However, the experts speaking with us as members of Congress are very optimistic that we will have a vaccine perhaps as early as January, which would be record time.)  

These numbers affirm the underlying strength of the American economy and just how eager Americans are to get back to work as soon as they can do so safely.