On Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the June jobs report, showing promising signs of economic recovery amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Although economists had expected an increase of 3 million new jobs and an unemployment rate of 12.3 percent, Thursday's report exceeded those expectations, with the U.S. economy gaining 4.8 million jobs and the unemployment rate falling to 11.1 percent. The weekly initial jobless claims numbers showed that 1.427 million people filed for first-time jobless benefits, a number that has begun to "curve down."
The report was touted by President Donald Trump as representing the "largest jobs gain in the history of our country," according to NBC News. The president said during a news conference that "today's announcement proves that our economy is roaring back." Addressing the 356,000 gains in manufacturing, Trump said it was "because of our great trade policy."
Despite the promising numbers, however, concern over the economic impact of the pandemic has been renewed. In recent weeks, confirmed coronavirus cases across the country have surged, forcing some cities and states to halt or even revert their reopening progress. On Wednesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom tightened the reopening process by ordering 19 counties, including Los Angeles, to shift many business operations outdoors or close them immediately, according to NPR. Similar measures have been taken in states such as Texas and Florida, and the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have mandated a 14-day quarantine for people traveling from states with rising cases.
The re-enacted measures have sparked concerns that despite the positive trends in the last two job reports, the American economy will continue to struggle and more jobs will be lost. Such concerns have been the basis of arguments petitioning for another relief package that would include a second round of economic impact payments distributed directly to American citizens.
With Congress set to reconvene later this month to begin discussions, Thursday's jobs report has long been considered a key factor in determining whether or not further aid was necessary. It has been argued that another strong month of employment gains could dash hopes of another round of payments, while a payroll decline in the month of June would support a need for another round of payments rather than smaller measures that have been tossed around.
Speaking with reporters during a news conference on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate would "take an assessment of the economy" as they began discussions on economic aid. However, he also stated that "the progress we're making on the health care front" would also factor into a final decision.