The US economy created 280,000 jobs in May, much more than the 220,000 that had been forecast. Even with the positive numbers, the unemployment rate increased from 5.4 percent to 5.5 percent. Still, experts say that it’s evident companies are looking to do some hiring, even with a first quarter that seemed to stall. Wages were also up more than expected, eight cents to $24.96.
“Many economists think the first quarter woes were temporary and that the economy will rebound this spring,” writes the Wall Street Journal. “Federal Reserve officials predict a bounce back, and most have said they expect to begin raising the central bank’s benchmark short-term interest rate from near zero later this year.” Even the International Monetary Fund is asking the Fed to hold off on any changes to the interest rate.
While all that is happening, we have some bad news for Blacks seeking employment: the unemployment rate for Blacks actually increased from 9.6 percent to 10.2 percent. We took a quick look and couldn’t yet find an explanation for the change (we’ll keep an ear to the ground), but this article was published last month after the Black unemployment rate dropped to single digits. The numbers, The Washington Post says, “point to an often-overlooked aspect of America’s racial divide: When the economy reaches the end-stage of a recovery–as the country reaches full employment–African Americans tend see a sudden improvement more dramatic than the rest of the country. And that’s what’s happening now, according to economists, who say that tight employment is the best way to bring down the black joblessness rate.”
Even in good times, the article says, the unemployment rate for Blacks is twice that for whites. Two of the problems identified there are discrimination and criminal history.
Thinking optimistically, we’ll note here that the areas where the greatest job gains were made were leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, healthcare, retail and construction. So if you have any desire for a position in those areas, you might want to polish your resume.