CHICAGO (CBS) — For the second consecutive month, the U.S. job market improved.
But it’s still nowhere near where it was before the pandemic. The national unemployment rate is 11.1%. That’s lower than the 12.4% many analysts predicted.
However experts said there are still hidden concerns for the future. CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole is Working for Chicago, going beyond the numbers and uncovering the information and resources you need about the job market right now.
This is really a mixed bag. We have a drop in unemployment, it coincides with a record uptick in jobs created. But millions of people are still unemployed, and in those numbers are workers whose jobs may have been cut for the long haul.
Not just the socially distanced customers have happily returned to The Fifty/50 Group’s restaurants, but so has once furloughed event manager Jessica Bagriy. Weddings and baby showers are again keeping her busy.
“About two weeks ago inquiries started coming in,” Bagriy said.
The nation’s employment rate rose by 4.8 million in June. That’s about 1.9 million more jobs than expected.
“We live for this job, so to not do it every single day was a weird void in your life,” Bagriy said.
In Illinois, unemployment claims this past week were 45,249. It’s a slight decrease from the previous week. But in the reopening economy, there are also troubling signs.
“We are still clearly not out of the weeds,” said Andy Challenger, Senior Vice President at Challenger, Gray and Christmas.
He found job cuts in the second quarter of 2020 totaled 1.2 million. In a reopening economy, the gains are coming from retail and service sector jobs, but others not directly impacted by COVID-19 are scaling back with possibly more permanent cuts.
“Now, we are seeing a lot of job cuts being announced at medium to large-sized companies in sectors like tech and manufacturing,” Challenger said.
Caught in the middle are workers like Joe Psioda, an accountant looking for work and trying to navigate the state’s troublesome unemployment system.
“Meanwhile the bills are coming in the bills are coming in,” he said. “Over 1,000 times I have listened to this recording and they can’t take my phone calls.”
Though an uncertain economy and a global recession is the backdrop for Bagriy’s return, she’s trying to stay optimistic.
“I really feel we will come back a lot stronger from all of this,” she said.
Thursday’s numbers show the economy has recovered about a third of the jobs lost in March and April. But with so many of the jobs coming back in the service industries, we are standing on shaky ground. An uptick in COVID-19 rates could find those same people out of work.
It’s a cycle that will continue until a vaccine is available.