MEMO: Jobs Day #BeyondTheNumbers

June 4, 2021

Groundwork Collaborative wants to make sure you have the full context on today’s jobs numbers and the investments we need for an equitable recovery and a truly inclusive economy.

Read a topline summary below and check out Groundwork’s Chief Economist, Rakeen Mabud’s, take on today’s jobs numbers here. To speak with Dr. Mabud, please contact Jae Aron at

  • The May Jobs report shows us the deep and urgent need for continued investment in the people who keep our economy going. While the American Rescue Plan has provided a critical lifeline for millions around the country and put us on the path to recovery, we will only achieve a full, inclusive economy by committing to large-scale, long-term investments that center working people and their communities.
  • As in past recessions, economic recovery is unevenly distributed across gender and racial lines. Unemployment rates for white workers ticked down to 5.1 percent and the unemployment rate for Black workers remains nearly double that at 9.1 percent. The unemployment rate for Hispanic or Latinx workers declined last month, but stands high at 7.3 percent.
  • Policies that protect workers from being forced into jobs with poverty-level wages are good for our economy, full stop. Strong social safety net measures like expanded unemployment insurance (UI) make our labor market stronger and are essential to an equitable economic recovery. 
  • Now is the time to reassess how we measure a healthy economy — and that starts with focusing on the Black unemployment rate as a key metric of economic health. Until Black and Latinx workers, especially women, have reached unemployment rates on par with white workers — who tend to recover more quickly after a crisis — we must continue to invest and provide critical supports to ensure an equitable recovery.
  • Failing to make significant, equitable public investments now will harm the people made most vulnerable by the pandemic and weaken our economy in the long run. Enacting and building on the President’s latest relief plans is economically sound and overwhelmingly popular: 61% of likely voters support a larger package than Biden’s proposals, including 53% of independents.


About Groundwork Collaborative

The Groundwork Collaborative’s mission is to advance an economic vision for strong, broadly shared prosperity and true opportunity for all. Learn more at