Unemployment Among Hispanic Women, Black Men Sees Sharpest Drop in August

September 4, 2020 Updated: September 4, 2020

The government’s jobs report released Friday shows that the sharpest drop in unemployment from July to August by race was among Hispanic women and black men, while by level of education, it was those with less than a high school diploma that saw the biggest employment gains.

The Labor Department revealed in its report that overall U.S. unemployment dropped to 8.4 percent in August from 10.2 percent in July, which is well below expectations of 9.8 percent and an encouraging indication the economy is continuing to climb out of the doldrums caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

President Donald Trump commented on the better-than-expected unemployment numbers in a tweet, saying, “Broke the 10% level faster and deeper than thought possible.”

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Total civilian unemployment in July 2020 and August 2020. (Labor Department)

Unemployment among some groups have recovered faster than others. Hispanic women led the charge in employment gains, seeing their unemployment rate fall from 14 percent in July to 10.5 percent in August, a drop of 3.5 percentage points, the Labor Department figures showed. Black men also saw a sharp decline in unemployment, going from 15.2 percent to 12.2 percent, a drop of 2 percentage points. Looked at by education level, the unemployment rate for those with less than a high school diploma fell the most, dropping from 15.4 percent in July to 12.6 percent in August, a drop of 2.8 percentage points.

Vice President Mike Pence also hailed Friday’s jobs figures, telling CNBC in an interview that they’re evidence of a “remarkable” economic rebound.

“The jobs report today tells you that the American economy is coming back. We’re going to continue those policies that are equipping Americans to make their way through this time. But we’re also going to take our case all across this country that we need four more years of exactly the policies that have laid the foundation for this remarkable, V-shaped recovery that is taking place,” Pence said.

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Hairdressers work on customers seated inside for the first time in months at Angelo’s Barber Shop in downtown Los Angeles, Calif., on Sept. 3, 2020. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Looking at the dynamics of economic activity on an industry basis, the recovery has been uneven. Suzanne Clark, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a recent note that some sectors, like technology, retail, and software services have managed a sharp rebound, while others continue to lag. She described this pattern as a “K-shaped recovery.”

“What we’re looking at is a recovery that will be vigorous for some sectors while others remain in freefall,” she wrote, adding that this dynamic is also visible in employment numbers.

“The financial services sector, for example, has already recovered 94% of its pre-pandemic employment. Leisure and entertainment, on the other hand, has only brought back 74% of the workforce,” she noted.

“For countless companies in the travel, entertainment, leisure, hospitality, and food service industries, there is no end in sight to the economic malaise,” she added, and called for temporary relief measures that would target specific industries and “help those on the wrong side of the recovery.”

Congressional leaders and White House officials are expected to meet for further negotiations on relief measures later this month when members of Congress return to Washington after their break.

Stimulus negotiations broke down early last month, with the key sticking points being whether to provide nearly $1 trillion in federal aid to state and local governments as well as how much in unemployment benefits should be provided.

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