By nearly all accounts, the June 2014 jobs report is a strong one. The economy added 288,000 jobs in June, marking the five year anniversary of the recovery and the fifth consecutive month of job growth over 200,000 – a pattern we’ve not seen since the late 1990s. Also, the unemployment rate dropped from 6.3 percent to 6.1 percent, as the labor force participation rate held steady, and the share of the working age (16 or older) population with a job increased by one-tenth of a percent.
Another indication of the strength of this report is the large gains in employment for African Americans and Latinos. The share of working age African Americans with a job has increased 1.3 percentage points since January 2014 and the increase for Latinos has been six-tenths of a percent, compared to an increase of one-tenth of a percent for whites. The June employment growth account for over half of this increase for African Americans and all of the gains for Latinos and whites. These gains also bring the black-white unemployment gap to the lowest level this year at a ratio of 2-to-1.
This is important because of the convention that people of color are often the “first fired and last hired.” The fact that employment is now growing more strongly for African Americans and Latinos demonstrates how critical continued strong job growth will be to further reducing unemployment for people of color and narrowing racial unemployment gaps.