Behind the 4.8m jobs that returned: not many of them were for people of color.
Donald Trump was quick to celebrate the US Department of Labor’s monthly job report on Thursday revealing a record 4.8m jobs returning in June as states reopened following coronavirus lockdowns.
But while the White House has already boasted the report is a sign of successful economic recovery, the reality is that millions of Americans are still indefinitely out of work, and a lot of them are Black
Economists have long said that during recessions, Black Americans are susceptible to the “last hired, first fired” phenomenon due to systemic racism and job segregation. June’s job report showed that this pandemic-induced recession is not different.
Even as Black Lives Matter protests ignited a reckoning on racism in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Black Americans have experienced the slowest recovery of all racial groups.
Though the past three months have brought an over 3% decrease in the overall unemployment rate, the Black unemployment rate has seen a much slower recovery rate.
The Black unemployment rate reached its peak in May at 16.8%. In June, the rate went down to 15.4%. Comparatively, the White unemployment rate went from its peak of 14.2% in April to 10.1% in June. While Hispanic Americans had the highest unemployment rate of any racial group over the past three months: hitting 18.9% in April, the Hispanic unemployment rate dropped to 14.5% in June.
Worst of all, among Black men, the unemployment rate actually rose between May and June, hitting this recession’s high water mark of 16.3% in June.
Since the recession began in February, it has struck Black and Hispanic Americans harder than the overall U.S. population. According to a Census Bureau survey, 53% of Black households and nearly three-fifths of Latino households have lost income since the viral outbreak struck.
No matter how you spin it, American is still 14.7 million jobs below where we were in February before the pandemic spread. Additionally, today’s unemployment insurance claims data showed that last week, 2.3 million workers applied for unemployment benefits (1.4 million applied for regular state unemployment insurance, and 0.8 million applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance). This is the 15th week in a row that unemployment claims have been more than twice the worst week of the Great Recession.