The job market took a big step toward healing in May, though plenty of damage remains, as a record level of hiring followed record layoffs in March and April.
The Labor Department reported Tuesday that the number of available jobs rose sharply as well, but remained far below pre-pandemic levels.
The figures, from the government’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTS, illustrate the whiplash the economy has experienced since the pandemic intensified in mid-March. Layoffs soared in March to a stunning 11.5 million, roughly four times the peak during the 2008-2009 recession. They remained extraordinarily high in April, at 7.7 million, but in May they fell back to pre-pandemic levels of 1.8 million.