A year after peak job losses, the US recovery has been slow to arrive

Ťhe coronavirus pandemic sparked one of the deepest, and strangest, downturns in employment in US history. 在周五, 这 Bureau of Labor Statistics said the US had added another 559,000 jobs in May, and the unemployment rate had fallen to 5.8% – a dramatic drop from its 14.8% high in April last year.

Employers say they are struggling to hire workers, and yet the US is still 7.6m jobs short of where it was before Covid-19 struck. Below, in the first of a monthly series, we take a look at what lies behind the headline figures for the highly influential jobs report.

The nature of the pandemic has highlighted structural inequities in the economy that are reflected in the monthly report. Black and Hispanic workers, 例如, suffered the most during the recession, and are still struggling even as other parts of the economy recover.

Younger Americans have also experienced greater incidence of joblessness this May: though unemployment hovered at 4.9% for those 45 和结束, it was 5.8 和 10.1% for people between the ages of 25-34 和 20-24, 分别. Those rates have been slow to drop to pre-pandemic levels.

The effects of the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic were most dramatic for people with lower levels of educational attainment. One-fifth of all those with less than a high school diploma (including younger people) were unemployed last April, and many have not been re-employed.

Many industries also continue to report high levels of unemployment. As has been widely reported, the leisure and hospitality industry was among the most affected. Last April, the shutdown of restaurants, bars and other nightlife brought unemployment to a whopping 39.3%, dropping to 10.1% last month. Other industries that continue to see elevated rates include mining and construction.

农业, which saw seasonal changes in unemployment, is the only group to report a better unemployment rate now (8.2%) than before the lockdowns last year.

Americans have yet to experience a full economic recovery, and companies continue to struggle to hire. While some lawmakers have pointed to the possibility of a labor shortage, progressive members of the House of Representatives have emphasized the importance of a more reasonable living wage.

乔拜登, in his response to the jobs report, spoke with optimism about the continued the success of the American Rescue Plan, and his plans for the future.

“Now is the time to build on the foundation we’ve laid, because while our progress is undeniable, it is not assured. That’s why I’ve proposed the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan —— for generational investments,” Biden said.

第一的 of those proposals has a marked emphasis on infrastructure, 而 latter focuses on education and direct support to families.

“We need to make those investments today to be able to continue to succeed tomorrow,“ 他说.

What this means for the future of work, given the unraveling of norms prompted by the pandemic, remains to be seen.




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