Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
The economy unexpectedly gained 2.5 million jobs in May after record losses the prior month as states began allowing businesses shuttered by the coronavirus to reopen and many Americans returned to work.
The unemployment rate fell to 13.3% from April's 14.7%, which was the highest since the Great Depression.
The monthly increase — the largest ever — defied expectations. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted that eight million jobs would be shed last month following 20.7 million losses in April.
"The biggest payroll surprise in history, by a gigantic margin, likely is due to a wave of hidden rehiring," says Ian Shepherdson, chief economist of Pantheon Macroeconomics.
The unemployment rate was 14.1% in Wisconsin in April.
For the Milwaukee area, unemployment rate was 14.5% and 16.8% for Milwaukee County, according to the Department of Workforce Development.
In the first five days of the week beginning May 31, 18,432 people applied for unemployment benefits. That compares with 22,835 for the full week that ended May 30.
Stocks jumped on the news. In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rallied almost 1,000 points, or 4%, while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 jumped 87 points, or 3%.
President Donald Trump on Friday cast the surprisingly strong jobs numbers as a sign the U.S. economy is poised for major comeback.
"This is a rocket ship," Trump said. "We made a big step in our comeback."