The economy saw a second consecutive month of better-than-expected job growth in June, as many businesses began to reopen, at least partially, in areas where pandemic-related restrictions eased. 

According to the June jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers expanded payrolls by 4.8 million positions last month. That’s the highest monthly figure since the government started keeping records in 1939.

The leisure and hospitality industry once again led job growth, adding 2.1 million jobs. Employment in the retail trade sector also increased with the addition of about 740,000 jobs. 

The following sectors also saw sharp increases in employment in June:

  • Education and health services: 568,000 jobs added
  • Other services: 357,000 jobs added
  • Manufacturing: 356,000 jobs added
  • Professional and business services: 306,000 jobs added
  • Construction: 158,000 jobs added

Unemployment rate dials down to 11.1%

The national unemployment rate declined by 2.2 percentage points to 11.1% in June, according to the BLS. 

The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers who are 25 or older was 6.9% in June, down from 7.4% in May. These professionals are the most highly sought after by employers. 

What employers need to know

Even in this uncertain time, retention of your most valued employees should be a high priority. Consider that 60% of the workers we surveyed said they are more motivated to be employed at an organization that values its staff during unpredictable times. And keep in mind that employers well outside of your immediate area may be vying for your best people, now that remote work has taken hold.

To boost your retention efforts, consider applying these and other best practices outlined in Robert Half’s 10 Lessons for Managing Your Staff in the COVID-19 Era:

  • Pay top performers well. The pandemic has not changed that fact that your business needs to meet or exceed what other firms pay their employees for similar work.
  • Focus on employee wellness. Offer resources, like wellness webinars, to help employees cope with uncertainty, manage change and stress, and focus on their health.
  • Be flexible. To the extent possible, give employees flexibility so they can work when they are most productive and engaged, and manage their personal demands, too.

The investment you make now in employee retention can benefit your business when recovery becomes more robust, and companies start to ramp up their hiring.

What job seekers need to know

In a recent Robert Half survey, more than half (57%) of office professionals said they have experienced a shift in their feelings toward work due to the pandemic. Some respondents reported that they are seeking more meaningful work, while others said they want to prioritize their personal life.

No matter your reason for launching a new job search right now, your prospects might be better than you think — provided you have the right qualifications for the roles you’re targeting. Employers are hiring for many types of positions, from help desk technicians to loan and mortgage processors to customer service representatives. And, if you’re open to working remotely for companies outside of your local area, you may be able to find more opportunities.

You may want to consider working with a specialized staffing firm like Robert Half to help guide your job search in this challenging environment. Our recruiters often have knowledge of available positions before they are advertised. And if you’re a passive job seeker, you can be confident that they’ll handle your search with great care. 

Our staffing professionals are well-versed in placing remote workers. They can also connect you with temporary and contract opportunities that match your abilities. These arrangements can help you learn new skills and start a new chapter in your career — at a comfortable pace. And working a temporary or project role may even lead you to a full-time position.

Read the infographic text.


4,800,000 JOBS ADDED*




  Unemployment RateUnemployment Rate for College Grads
 July '193.7%2.2%
 August '193.7%2.1%
 September '193.5%2.0%
 October '193.6%2.1%
 November '193.5%2.0%
 December '193.5%1.9%
 January '203.6%2.0%
 February '203.5%1.9%
 March '204.4%2.5%
 April '2014.7%8.4%
 May '2013.3%7.4%
 June '2011.1%6.9%

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

**College-degreed workers 25 and older

See what these results mean for job seekers and employers at


57% of office workers have experienced a shift in their feelings toward work due to the pandemic, including prioritizing their personal life over their job and wanting to pursue a more meaningful position.

Source: Robert Half survey of more than 1,000 workers in the U.S.

© 2020 Robert Half. An Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/Disability/Veterans.