May’s mixed signals for the job market | #JobsDay June 2023

by | Jun 2, 2023 | Fair Pay

May’s Job’s Report revealed some mixed signals for the economy. While overall job growth was relatively strong, unemployment ticked up, driven largely by increases in unemployment for Black workers. Black women’s unemployment rate jumped to 5.3 percent in May after hitting historic lows earlier in the spring. This increase occurred despite the fact that Black women maintained their high labor force participation rate last month. The fact that Black women’s unemployment rate remains consistently higher than white men’s and women’s and they face a persistent wage gap, hiring discrimination and more clearly indicates ongoing labor market barriers and a failure to center their needs in policymaking.

Similarly, the unemployment rate for disabled women was high in May at 9.0 percent, up from a year ago and nearly triple the rate of their non-disabled counterparts. Despite gains in recent years, disabled women women continue to face enormous labor market challenges.

May’s data did, however, have some brighter spots. Latinas’ unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 percent last month, among their lowest in nearly five decades of data. And labor force participation remained steady for many groups of women, though Latinas and women overall still remain below their pre-pandemic peak.

Today’s mixed data come amidst the conclusion of a GOP-manufactured debt ceiling crisis that is pushing cuts at a time when the most marginalized workers have recently made headway. Republicans’ demands to cut vital safety net programs including SNAP and TANF as part of the false-choice deal puts our economic recovery at risk by harming the economy overall and undermining families’ ability to meet their basic needs. As National Partnership President Jocelyn Frye said, “Instead of forcing families struggling to make ends meet to make do with less, policymakers should center the needs of women – especially women of color – and families in their economic decision-making to create an economy that works for everyone by investing in caregiving, health care, and anti-discrimination enforcement measures.”

Read our full analysis of today’s Jobs Report on Twitter.

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