The monthly jobs report from the federal government is used as one of the key benchmarks to measure the health of the economy. The latest unemployment rate reveals a strong labor market and near record-low unemployment.
However, that figure does not tell the whole story, according to Alex Camardelle, director of Workforce Policy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. He points to inequities in job quality and unemployment rates along racial, ethnic and gender lines that often aren’t reflected in most headlines about jobs.
“When we look at some of the disaggregated dynamics of the labor market, in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, we recognize that not everybody is doing so well,” said Camardelle in an interview with “Marketplace’s” David Brancaccio.
The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.
David Brancaccio: All right, when we see these headlines, I don’t know what’s gonna say late this week. But it might be that unemployment is what looks like a very low 3.6%. That’s not for everyone, it doesn’t mean that the problem’s solved with the labor force.
Alex Camardelle: That’s right, the narrative that the economy is doing well, that we’ve rebounded, that folks are recovering, is one that gives us pause. Because when we look at some of the disaggregated dynamics of the labor market, in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, we recognize that not everybody is doing so well. So for instance, if you look just at the unemployment rate, we know that while the overall rate may have fallen or may be low for everyone, generally, for Black workers it is often two times, if not more, higher. For women, it’s slightly more, right. We tend to be OK with the unemployment rate, as long as it’s low for seemingly white men in this country. And we just forget what it means for everybody else in the labor market. And that’s something that keeps us concerned …