After easing US corona restrictions, the June unemployment rate fell significantly for the second month in a row. It fell from 13.3 percent in May to 11.1 percent in June, the government said. The number of non-agricultural workers rose by 4.8 million. Almost half of these new jobs came from the hospitality industry, it said. In April the unemployment rate was still 14.7 percent.

The June unemployment rate, however, was based on data that was only collected up to the middle of the month. The potential effects of the recent dramatic escalation of the coronavirus pandemic are therefore not yet evident. In the particularly affected states in the south of the country, such as Florida, Texas, Arizona and California, easing of the corona requirements has recently been reversed or postponed.

Many new applications for unemployment benefits

For about a week now, the US authorities have been reporting around 40,000 new infections a day, and on Wednesday it was even more than 50,000 for the first time. Several states have now withdrawn easing for the catering trade. Companies like Apple closed their stores again in many places, and McDonald's also postponed plans to open its approximately 14,000 fast-food restaurants in the USA, according to media reports.

The new applications for unemployment benefits were also a sign of the ongoing difficulties on the labor market. A separate announcement said that around 1.4 million people applied for support for the first time in the week up to and including June 27, roughly as many as in the previous week. As a result, around 20 million people still received regular unemployment benefits.

The measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, which at times led to closings of shops, restaurants and companies across the country, have hit the US economy. More than 45 million people have lost their jobs at least temporarily since mid-March - more than ever before in such a short time. The unemployment rate rose to its highest level in decades in April.

The unemployment rate in the world's largest economy was still 3.5 percent in February, the lowest level in decades. US President Donald Trump, who is applying for a second term in November, hopes that the economy will recover quickly in the second half of the year.