EPI News

June job growth offers no relief for job seekers

The June 2012 employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed 80,000 jobs were added last month. In her analysis of the report, EPI labor economist Heidi Shierholz explained that this rate of job growth means two things: “We are not in—nor are we slipping into—another recession, but we are also not getting the kind of job growth that will bring the unemployment rate down.” She concluded by saying, “With the unemployment rate above 8 percent for 41 months straight, this is an ongoing, severe crisis for the American workforce.”

Black and Hispanic unemployment remains high in metro areas nationwide

In two new reports, EPI’s Algernon Austin, director of EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, finds black and Hispanic unemployment remains high in metro areas nationwide. In Black metropolitan unemployment in 2011: Las Vegas’s rate rises significantly, Austin explains that Las Vegas not only had the highest African American unemployment rate in 2011 among 19 metro areas with large African American populations, it also had the largest increase in black unemployment—2.8 percentage points—from 2010 to 2011. And in Hispanic metropolitan unemployment in 2011: Providence, RI, again tops the list, Austin shows that at 23.3 percent, Providence’s Hispanic unemployment rate far outpaced that of the next-highest metro area, Orlando, Fla., which had a Hispanic unemployment rate of 16.6 percent. Click here to learn how African Americans and Hispanics across the nation’s metro areas are faring.

Austin’s reports have already been covered by multiple national and local media outlets, including the Associated Press, Marketplace, Minnesota Public Radio, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, and Twin Cities Daily Planet.

  • From the Associated Press: “A new report says the Hispanic unemploymentrate in the metropolitan area that includes Providence as well as New Bedfordand Fall River in Massachusetts is the country’s highest.The Washington-based nonprofit Economic Policy Institute says the rate in the area was 23.3 percent in 2011. That was double the national Hispanic unemployment rate of 11.5 percent in 2011.”
  • Marketplace: “According to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), African Americans and Hispanics are still at a disadvantage when it comes to employment in some metro areas. The EPI scanned 19 metro areas with large African American populations and 25 metros with large Hispanic populations.  Both studies found that unemployment in 2011 was higher than the national rate for African Americans and Hispanics in several metro areas.”
  • And Minnesota Public Radio: “During 2011, the jobless rate for African Americans in the Twin Cities averaged nearly 18 percent, more than three-times that of white residents. That’s by far the biggest disparity of all the metropolitan areas covered in a study from the Economic Policy Institute.”

Public health insurance helps blunt effects of declining employer-sponsored coverage

This week’s Economic Snapshot explains another important aspect of the Affordable Care Act: It provides a more inclusive health insurance safety net. The share of Americans under age 65 with employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) declined every year from 2000–10, a total of 10.6 percentage points. This erosion of ESI, especially among children, would have been much worse if not for public insurance (i.e., Medicaid and CHIP, particularly for children). While children experienced greater losses in ESI than adults, their insured rate actually rose, made possible by a 13.7 percentage-point increase in the share of children with public coverage. This increase was large enough to fully offset their ESI losses. The share of adults with public coverage increased 5.0 percentage points over this period, not nearly enough to offset their ESI loss of 10.1 percentage points.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, more than 30 million people (primarily adults) will get health insurance in coming years who would not have otherwise received it—making them more likely to get needed medical care and less likely to come under severe financial distress due to medical expenses.