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article imageUnemployment rates for Blacks and whites widest in five years

By Karen Graham     Jul 2, 2020 in Business
U.S. employers added a substantial 4.8 million jobs in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent - However, the gap between the U.S. unemployment rates for Blacks and whites widened further in June, to its largest in five years.
According to the Labor Department’s jobs report released Thursday, the U.S. has recovered nearly one-third of the 22 million jobs lost in March and April due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With the number of coronavirus cases spiking across the country, there is a range of evidence that suggests the job market recovery could go into a stall, according to the Associated Press. On Wednesday, the U.S. recorded 50,000 confirmed new coronavirus cases, prompting many states to further limit reopening protocols and forcing a number of businesses to close.
The closure of many businesses is keeping layoffs elevated: The number of Americans who sought unemployment benefits barely fell last week to 1.47 million, according to a separate report, a number that is still more than double the pre-pandemic peak set in 1982. The total number of people who are receiving jobless aid remains at 19 million.
Unemployment rates for Blacks and whites
While jobless rates fell for both Black and white Americans last month, the rate for whites came down much faster. The white unemployment rate fell by 2.3 percentage points to 10.1 percent from 12.4 percent, while the rate for Blacks dropped by 1.4 points to 15.4 percent from 16.8 percent.
The gap between the two is an astonishing 5.3 percentage points, the highest its been since May 2015. The pandemic has not only brought an end to the country's record economic expansion but wiped out all the gains made in creating better-paying jobs for Blacks and other minorities.
It is important to keep in mind that the Labor Department's data was collected in mid-June before a number of state leaders paused or rolled back reopening plans as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations dramatically increased, reports US News.
The labor market "roared back to life" in June, but the unemployment rate and payroll figures released Thursday are a "look in the rearview mirror," Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, said in a statement. "With surging COVID-19 cases hitting new highs in the past week, rough waters are surely ahead for the economy in the coming months as a second wave could again shutter millions of American small businesses and put a freeze on hiring."
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