July 7 (UPI) -- A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a record 6.5 million hires in May -- a monthly increase of 2.4 million -- along with a record drop in job separations.
The hires recorded in the new Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, released Tuesday represented the largest monthly increase in hires in the history of the survey. Equally, the decrease in separations falling by 5.8 million to 4.1 million was also a record.
The survey said the improvement in hiring reflected the limited resumption of economic activities as states slowly started to re-open their economies around the country in May. Coronavirus restrictions forced many businesses to curtail work or close altogether temporarily.
Jobs in accommodation and food services, which were slammed during the wave of closures in March and April, gained 196,000 jobs. Retail trade, another hard-hit sector, made 147,000 hires. The construction sector gained 118,000 jobs.
On the flip side, the information sector lost 55,000 jobs, the federal government saw 37,000 separations and educational services saw 27,000 job losses.
Despite the record hiring numbers, there were still signs for concern. The quit rate increased from 1.6 percent in May from 1.3 percent in April, which was still well below the 2.4 percent rate at the same time in 2019. The rate is seen as a gauge of worker confidence.
"The millions of job openings don't match up well with the millions of workers on furlough waiting to be called back to their jobs," Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank, said.