The official US unemployment rate for June has dropped to 11.1 per cent from a previous 13.3 per cent, beating market expectations, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

About 4.8 million jobs were added in June, while the number of workers listed as being on temporary lay-offs fell by 4.8 million to 10.6 million.

Two-fifths of the job gains came in the leisure and hospitality sectors.

The Bureau’s methodology means the figure largely reflects the first weeks of June.

However, the country has since had re-openings paused or even rolled back due to new spikes in coronavirus caseloads, threatening the recovery from the recession.

The figures came as the Department of Labor separately reported 1.42 million initial unemployment claims for the last week, a fall of just 55,000 on the previous week, signalling the economic rebound is still facing headwinds.

The figures mark the 15th straight week in which the US has posted more than 1 million new unemployment benefit claims but remains far below the worst week in March, which recorded more than 6 million claims.

The unemployment rate is still up by 7.6 percentage points since February, equalling 12 million workers who are out of a job since the pandemic hit.