Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Economist Kate Bahn released the following statement on the July 2017 employment situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The July 2017 jobs report shows the economy continuing to add jobs, with 209,000 jobs added in July, an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent, and year-over-year wage growth of 2.5 percent. But the positive top-line figures conceal persistent structural shortfalls for certain demographic groups. This past Monday marked Black Women’s Equal Pay Day—the day that marks black women working from the beginning of 2016 to the end of July 2017 to earn as much as white men earned in 2016 alone. Even compared to white men without a college degree—who have also lost ground—black women face even higher unemployment and more starkly declining employment levels. Their continued economic struggles crisply highlight the continued need for policies to tighten the labor market, as well as vigorous enforcement of the nation’s civil rights laws. The Trump 2018 budget proposal fails on both counts.
The Trump administration also continues to try to have it both ways. They claim credit for economic gains that owe more to the inclusive policies of the Obama administration than Trump while offering up destructive and ultimately self-defeating rhetoric aimed at dividing working class Americans. By focusing on primarily white male workers, they fail to address the real challenges that all working class Americans are facing. Given that state of affairs, whether black women are able to overcome the persistent obstacles in the labor market should be a primary metric for evaluating the health of the economy overall and whether economic and monetary policy is working for all working Americans.
Related resource: The State of the U.S. Labor Market for Black Women: Pre-July 2017 Jobs Release by Annie McGrew and Kate Bahn