Memo: June Jobs Day By the Numbers

July 2, 2021 Groundwork Collaborative

Groundwork Collaborative wants to make sure you have the full context on the U.S. Labor Department’s June Employment Report and the investments we need for an equitable recovery and a truly inclusive economy. 

Groundwork’s Chief Economist Dr. Rakeen Mabud said it succinctly:

For all the exciting news in this jobs report, don’t forget that the Black unemployment rate is still 9.2 percent. That’s intolerable. We can’t afford to get complacent when so many around the country aren’t yet feeling the recovery. #jobsday

To speak with Dr. Mabud, please contact Jae Aron at

  • This month’s jobs report exceeded expectations, adding 850,000 jobs. 9.5 million workers were unemployed in June, with the unemployment rate stagnating at 5.9 percent. The number of long-term unemployed increased to nearly 4 million workers — still 2.9 million more than February 2020 — making up 42% of those unemployed. 
  • Despite these positive signs, we won’t have a full economic recovery until Black and Latinx workers, who have long faced structural barriers to employment and good jobs, reach full employment. Black workers continue to face crisis-level unemployment rates at 9.2 percent, still nearly double the unemployment rate for white workers. The unemployment rate for Hispanic/Latinx workers also rose slightly last month to 7.4 percent. 
  • Temporary signs of worker empowerment, like rising wages, are a positive sign but cannot undo decades of anti-worker policies. Despite a recent surge in people quitting their jobs, and states and employers beefing up hiring incentives, these positive trends will not hold unless we enact permanent and broad-sweeping policies that put workers’ lives over corporate profits. 
  • The bottom line: only massive, sustained public investments can reshape our economy so it works for all of us, not just the wealthy few. Prioritizing care infrastructure, making the expanded Child Tax Credit permanent, repairing our UI system to make it accessible and equitable, and combating the climate crisis with all of the resources at our disposal are the precursors to a full economic recovery.