Optimism over the nation’s economic recovery was expressed after June's jobs report came out, though that feeling clearly cut out the experience Black people and Black women are having in the job market. According to an analysis by Insider, the rate of Black Americans who are unemployed actually increased from May, despite the US economy adding 850,000 jobs in June.
“I do think we’re still in a crisis,” Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) told Insider. “We’re still looking at really high unemployment rates, especially for Black women and Latinas again, and for Black men, it’s back in the double digits,” Tucker added.
The data showing the disparities comes as 26 states end federal unemployment benefits for millions who’ve been relying on the funds to get by. “If white men were at a double-digit unemployment rate, we would not be talking about ending these unemployment benefits in these states. We just 100%, we would not be doing it,” Tucker said.
In June, 148,000 women rejoined the workforce, though it should be noted that joining the workforce in these data sets doesn’t mean a person secured a job –– it means they are actively working or are searching for work. According to the NWLC, 97% of the women who rejoined the workforce still don’t have a job, which Tucker attributes to sexism and the childcare crisis created by the pandemic.
Black American households were financially vulnerable prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic because of the 2008 financial crisis. “Certainly, the unemployment rate for communities of color and women remains essentially unchanged in this report,” US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh told the outlet in an interview. “I think, and the president feels, that we have a potentially once in a lifetime opportunity to make some significant changes to the unemployment system, as far as people of color,” Walsh added.