Memo: October Jobs Day #BeyondTheNumbers

November 5, 2021 Groundwork Collaborative

Washington, D.C. According to data released today by the U.S. Labor Department, the U.S. economy added 531,000 jobs in October, the highest number since July 2021. Groundwork Collaborative’s Chief Economist Dr. Rakeen Mabud responded with the following statement: 

“Today’s strong job and wage growth numbers are welcome news and reflect an ongoing recovery. However, we cannot afford to become complacent when Black and brown workers continue to be left behind. Reverting to the deeply-flawed economy of February 2020 is unacceptable. It’s past time to deliver the large-scale, sustained public investments we need for a healthy labor market and a resilient economy.”

Email to set up an interview with Dr. Mabud and join us for our monthly Jobs Day Tweetchat at 1 p.m. ET using the hashtag #BeyondTheNumbers.



  • The economy is slowly recovering but millions of workers remain on the sidelines. Our economy is still short 4.2 million jobs since the pandemic began. Hard-to-find or too expensive child care and fear of contracting the virus continue to discourage people from returning to work. 
  • Our path to economic recovery has been deeply unequal. Even as overall unemployment ticked down, the Black unemployment rate remained unchanged in October at 7.9 percent, nearly double that of the white unemployment rate. For Hispanic and Latinx workers, the unemployment rate is also disproportionately high at 5.9 percent. 
  • The pandemic exacerbated these deep inequalities in our labor market — but it did not create them. For decades, policymakers have gutted public investments, cut taxes for wealthy people and corporations, and enacted racist and sexist policies that have systematically devalued the work of women and workers of color. 
  • Policymakers must deliver sustained and targeted investments to the most marginalized communities as quickly as possible. Today’s numbers drive home the urgent need for large-scale and long-overdue public investments to build a resilient economy that works for everyone.


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 on our website and follow us on Twitter @Groundwork.