April Jobs Report: On Track to Build Back Better, But a Steep Climb Ahead
Today was my second “Jobs Day” at the Department of Labor. Though the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Situation report included some good news, the numbers also made it clear that we have a steep climb ahead of us.
We added 266,000 jobs to the American economy in April, the unemployment rate was 6.1%, up marginally from 6% in March, and labor force participation is on the rise, reaching its highest point since last August. I told CNN that the report also showed that the number of people expressing hesitancy about returning to work due to the coronavirus is at its lowest point in the pandemic.
But as I shared with CNBC, we still have a ways to go: We haven’t recovered roughly 8 million jobs that existed before the pandemic. Also, racial inequities in the unemployment picture persist: The Black unemployment rate increased slightly to 9.7%, the Hispanic rate remained at 7.9%, the Asian rate dropped to 5.7% while the white rate fell to 5.3%.
Though we have more work to do, this jobs report shows that the American Rescue Plan is putting us on the path to recovery. From increasing access to vaccinations to bringing relief to families and supporting small businesses, we’re seeing that progress in the jobs data. It’s going to take time and effort to heal our economy, but we’re on track.