Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement today on the June 2021 employment situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Today’s report shows a huge surge in Americans returning to work. June’s report marks the best month in employment gains of this year, a clear sign that the economy is picking up steam. This surge in economic activity is a direct result of President Joe Biden’s historic vaccination program and economic rescue plan. It’s reassuring that the trend over the last five months is steady progress at a pace of roughly 600,000 new jobs a month. This is undoubtedly good news, but it does not offset the fact that for decades, millions of Americans have been left behind by policies designed to enrich the already wealthy, leading to years of sluggish economic growth, stagnant wages, and increasing inequality. Indeed, today’s data signal that the economy has more room to recover and that we should not settle for underwhelming growth. Congress faces a choice between a future of renewed economic growth that finally benefits everybody through President Biden’s jobs plans, or a stagnant recovery where the same long-term challenges continue to hold families and the economy back.
Today’s data below the strong top-line number demonstrate that millions of workers for generations have been held back by deep structural sexism, racism, ableism, and geographic disparities. At 9.2 percent and 7.4 percent, the unemployment rates for Black and Latino workers, respectively, is significantly higher than the employment rate of 5.2 percent for white workers. Meanwhile, disabled workers of all ages continue to suffer from much higher and more stagnant unemployment rates. Many of the 1 in 4 Americans with disabilities face additional challenges as many companies return to in-person work, and they could be pushed out of the labor market entirely without the support of disability-forward policies. Women, who have been disproportionately saddled with additional child and other caregiving responsibilities over the past 16 months, hold millions of fewer jobs than they did just at the start of 2020.
These structural disparities are deeply entrenched, but they are also solvable. In his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, President Biden has laid out clear-cut policies to address these and other longtime challenges. Expanding child care and home- and community-based services; repairing our crumbling infrastructure; and addressing climate change would put the economy on a path to faster, more inclusive long-term growth, while ensuring no one is left out of the recovery. Our country and our economy are stronger when everyone has an opportunity to contribute. By passing President Biden’s jobs plans, Congress has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a new era of inclusive economic growth. Nothing less than the future of our country and our planet rests on acting now.
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