Graham Kilmer

Unemployment Rate Drops to 11%

Despite job gains, communities of color continue to have higher than average unemployment rates.

By - Jul 2nd, 2020 04:12 pm
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On March 19th, the downtown Milwaukee Punch Bowl Social laid off 91 employees. Photo by Jennifer Rick.

On March 19th, the downtown Milwaukee Punch Bowl Social laid off 91 employees. Photo by Jennifer Rick.

The unemployment situation in the U.S. continues to improve. The latest jobs report shows the country added nearly five million jobs in June and unemployment dropped.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) report released Thursday shows national unemployment was at 11.1 percent in June, down from 13.3 percent in May. However, this means unemployment in June was still higher than the worst unemployment levels during the Great Recession a little over a decade ago.

The drop in unemployment, and 4.8 million new jobs added, “reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April,” the BLS said in its report. The major job gains in June were in leisure and hospitality, two of the areas hardest hit at the start of the pandemic.

Communities of color continue to be the hardest hit by unemployment. In June, the unemployment rate for Black people was 15.4 percent. For Hispanics the rate was 14.5 percent. For Asians it was 13.8 percent. The unemployment rate for white people was 10.1 percent.

As with previous months during the pandemic, there was an error in classifying workers during the monthly survey that threw off the unemployment rate by a percentage point. The actual unemployment rate in the U.S. is likely 12 percent. In May, the report was off by 3 percentage points, with a likely unemployment rate of 16 percent.

The number of new unemployment claims coming in across the U.S. has leveled off in recent weeks after a steady decline from late April through May. The country saw 1.4 million new unemployment claims last week. That’s on par with the rest of June when, on average, the country saw about 1.5 million new claims each week.

The total number of new unemployment claims since the beginning of March is now at 49.2 million.

There were also 839,563 new claims for Pandemic Unemployment assistance, which is a provision of the CARES Act that allows individuals that may not be eligible for regular unemployment to receive aid during the pandemic.

In Wisconsin, there were 30,446 new unemployment claims in the last week. The state has seen more than 730,000 claims since the start of the pandemic.

According to the Department of Workforce Development, between March 15 and June 27, the state has resolved 86.2 percent of the claims they’ve received. Three out of four claims have been approved and 11 percent have been denied.

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Categories: Business, Economics, Health

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