US unemployment rate slightly improves, yet remains high

US unemployment rate slightly improves, yet remains high

Recent statistics showed that the U.S. unemployment rate has improved following its historic rise in April when the coronavirus began to spread across the country.

It appears that the U.S. unemployment rate is slowly gaining a positive trend six months after the pandemic crippled most of the country’s economic activities.

As seen in the data released by the U.S. Department of Labor, September’s unemployment rate took a deep plunge of 7.9% coming from April’s 14.7%.

According to data, nearly half of the jobs lost during the early months of the pandemic have already recovered. In August alone, the U.S. added a total of 1.4 million jobs, which was massively boosted by the national government’s temporary hiring of an estimated 238, 000 workers to conduct the 2020 consensus.

US unemployment rate is still high

Despite the improvement, the rate is still far worse compared to when President Donald Trump took office last 2017 of January, with an unemployment rate of 4.8%.

US unemployment rate slightly improves, yet remains high

In September, for instance, the country added 661, 000 jobs only—a steep decline coming from the prior month’s growth.

A looming number of business closures seem to be a threat to the trend’s slight rally. In a report provided by Yelp, business closures have steadily increased and alarmingly climbed within the past six months.

In August alone, 163,735 businesses claimed they have stopped operations since August 31, which is also 23% higher compared to July’s rate. And as of this writing, 60% or a total of 97, 966 businesses have shut down permanently.

Disproportionate and uneven

But the current rate shows uneven and disproportionate recovery at the same time. Job recoveries were mostly within the group of white men only, with an unemployment rate of 7% in September.

Women and young people, on the other hand, struggle to go back to work.

An alarming rate of unemployed black people and Latinos show how the recovery seems beneficial to one group only. As seen in the data, the unemployment rate for the said Latinos and black Americans were 12.1% and 10.3%, respectively.

The situation, as told by an ex-chief economist from the U.S. Department of Labor, has appeared to hit “a plateau.” The former chief also mentioned how the recession prompted inequality in the job market.

“Going into this recession, inequality was, by many measures, at all-time highs. One group has faired OK economically and has worked from home while another has suffered economically, and in terms of health, to a far higher degree,” Professor William Rodgers told The Guardian.

The professor also added that the implementation of tougher restrictions, further rise in coronavirus infections, and the upcoming flu season, could slow the recovery and warned that young minorities will be hit the hardest, particularly.

Image courtesy of Tim Gouw/Pexels, U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

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