Donald Trump rushed to hold the U.S. Department of Labor’s monthly job report Thursday after it revealed a record 4.8 million jobs in June when states reopened after coronavirus blockades.
But while the White House has already boasted that the report is a sign of a successful economic recovery, the reality is that millions of Americans are still out of work indefinitely. And to make matters worse, the report gets its data from a survey that was conducted in early June, before states like California, Arizona, and Texas reversed the reopening of businesses like gyms and bars in the wake of huge waves of new Covid -19 infections.
Here are some conclusions from today’s report, which shows that many are still suffering from the consequences of the pandemic recession and that the economy is far from being out of danger.
1 The racial unemployment gap has worsened
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. The June job report showed that this pandemic-induced recession is no different.
Despite the Black Lives Matter protests fueling a trial of racism after the George Floyd police murder in Minneapolis, black Americans have experienced the slowest recovery of all racial groups.
Although the past three months have brought a decline of more than 3% in the overall unemployment rate, the black unemployment rate has seen a much slower recovery rate.
The black unemployment rate peaked in May at 16.8%. In June, the rate dropped to 15.4%. Comparatively, the white unemployment rate went from its high of 14.2% in April to 10.1% in June. While Hispanic Americans had the highest unemployment rate of any racial group in the past three months: They reached 18.9% in April, the Hispanic unemployment rate fell to 14.5% in June.
2 State and local government jobs are not yet
Responding to the pandemic has completely depleted the budget for local governments in the United States. Estimates report that local governments will face a cumulative deficit of $ 615 billion this year due to the pandemic.
The June work report further confirmed that state and local governments are in serious trouble. Government jobs decreased a total of 1.5 million in April and May, and in June, only 33,000 of those jobs have been recovered.
In comparison, other affected industries have seen large recoveries. Leisure and hospitality and retail, for example, had 2 million and 740,000 jobs in June, respectively. While millions of people still don’t have jobs in those industries, the report reveals that reopening is effective in slowly getting those jobs back. With state and local governments, the benefits are still uncertain.
3 Americans continued to leave the workforce
Even as states began to reopen, and millions of jobs were returning, more Americans were reported as “discouraged workers,” Americans who can work but have stopped looking for work, than in any previous month during the pandemic.
The number of discouraged workers increased from 574,000 Americans in April to 681,000 Americans in June. By comparison, 427,000 Americans were discouraged workers in June 2019.
4 The unemployment rate for women continues to be higher than that of men.
In the past three months, women have had a higher unemployment rate than men, although the gap has narrowed.
In April, the unemployment rate for women was 15.5%, higher than the national average of 14.7%, while men had an unemployment rate of 13%. While male and female workers saw a decline in unemployment in June, reaching 10.2% and 11.2%, respectively, the gap remains. In comparison, men and women had the same unemployment rate in June 2019.
The gap is largely due to closing orders that disproportionately affect occupations that are mostly occupied by women, such as cleaning and restaurant stewardesses.
5 About a third of jobs have returned
Some 7.5 million jobs have been recovered in May and June, but most of the 22 million jobs that were lost in March and April have not returned.
Economists warn that as new Covid-19 cases emerge in dozens of states, economies will again be affected by renewed closure orders that the June report did not capture. Therefore, in retrospect, the June report may be the best to come.