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Kate Bahn, Carmen Sanchez Cumming



Articles by Kate Bahn, Carmen Sanchez Cumming

Labor Day: How unions promote racial solidarity in the United States

20 days ago

Research consistently demonstrates that unions across the United States promote the enforcement of labor protections, increase pay for both union and nonunion members, and reduce income inequality. Importantly, labor organizations also help to institutionalize norms of fairness and equity and narrow pay divides along the lines of race and gender.

Amid this year’s Labor Day celebrations, a closer look is warranted at how unions can promote interracial solidarity. One telling outcome is that unionization also reduces racial animus among union members and highlights why increasing the bargaining power of all U.S. workers is key to creating a more equitable economy and a society better equipped to deal with institutional racism at work and in our communities.

In a 2021 paper,

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Equitable Growth’s Jobs Day Graphs: July 2021 Report Edition

August 6, 2021

On August 6, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the U.S. labor market during the month of July. Below are five graphs compiled by Equitable Growth staff highlighting important trends in the data.

Prime-age employment rates increased to 77.8 percent in July from 77.2 percent in June, reflecting significant employment growth over the month.

Black and Latinx unemployment rates declined by 1.0 and 0.8 percentage points in July, larger than the decline for both White and Asian American workers, but are still at an elevated level.

Unemployment fell for workers of all education levels, but partially reflecting a decrease in labor force participation among high school graduates and workers with some college education.

Employment growth

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JOLTS Day Graphs: April 2021 Edition

June 8, 2021

Every month the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases data on hiring, firing, and other labor market flows from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, better known as JOLTS. Today, the BLS released the latest data for April 2021. This report doesn’t get as much attention as the monthly Employment Situation Report, but it contains useful information about the state of the U.S. labor market. Below are a few key graphs using data from the report.

The quits rate reached a series high of 2.7 percent as nearly 4 million workers quit their jobs in April.

As job openings reached a series high of 9.3 million and hires stayed constant, the vacancy yield declined in April.

The ratio of unemployed-worker-per-job-opening was 1.06 in April, approaching its

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U.S. jobs report: Amid robust employment gains in May policymakers need to consider the future direction of demand-driven employment growth across industries

June 4, 2021

The recovery in U.S. employment picked up some steam last month. According to the latest Employment Situation Summary by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy in May gained 559,000 jobs, compared to the unexpectedly low 278,000 jobs added in April. While still 3.3 percentage points below its pre-coronavirus recession level, the share of adults between the ages of 25 and 54 with a job—the prime-age employment-to-population-ratio—rose from 76.9 to 77.1. But the share of adults either employed or actively looking for a job declined slightly, with the labor force participation rate going from 61.7 percent in April to 61.6 percent in May. Troublingly, the U.S. labor force participation rate remains at roughly the same level as in June of last year.

A closer look at

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Equitable Growth’s Jobs Day Graphs: May 2021 Report Edition

June 4, 2021

On June 4, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the U.S. labor market during the month of May. Below are five graphs compiled by Equitable Growth staff highlighting important trends in the data.

The prime-age employment-to-population ratio increased slightly in May from 76.9 percent to 77.1 percent as the labor market added 559,000 jobs.

Unemployment rates seem to have fallen for all racial and ethnic groups, but remain significantly higher for Black workers at 9.1 percent and Latinx workers at 7.3 percent.

Women’s employment rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 53.1 percent while men’s employment rate increased 0.1 percentage point to 63.4 percent.

An increasing proportion of unemployed workers reentered the labor force, while the

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The intersectional wage divides faced by Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women in the United States

May 28, 2021

Overview

Like other women of color, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women run up against structural barriers that hurt their U.S. labor market outcomes, including disadvantages that are the result of racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and the interaction between the two. Yet there is little research on how the experiences of AANHPI women in the U.S. labor market are filtered through the interplay of race and gender. Indeed, current economic narratives tend to overlook the obstacles this group of workers face in terms of employment, opportunities for career advancement, and earnings.

In this issue brief, we build on methodology developed when examining the racial-gender differences in the earnings of Black workers by Marlene Kim at the

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JOLTS Day Graphs: March 2021 Edition

May 11, 2021

Every month the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases data on hiring, firing, and other labor market flows from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, better known as JOLTS. Today, the BLS released the latest data for March 2021. This report doesn’t get as much attention as the monthly Employment Situation Report, but it contains useful information about the state of the U.S. labor market. Below are a few key graphs using data from the report.

The quits rate remained unchanged at 2.4 percent in March, even as the job openings rate increased to 5.3 percent.

Job openings reached a series high, yet hires were little changed as the vacancy yield declined in March.

There were 1.2 unemployed workers for every job opening in March as unemployment

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April Jobs report: Disappointing job gains mean the damage from the coronavirus recession may be long term, especially for young workers

May 7, 2021

The U.S. labor market delivered employment gains that were far below expectations last month. According to the Employment Situation Summary released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between mid-March and mid-April the U.S. economy added only 266,000 non-farm payroll jobs, and the share of the population between the ages of 25 and 54 that is employed—a measure economists call the prime-age employment to population ratio—increased only slightly, from 76.8 percent in March to 76.9 percent in April.  

April’s Jobs report is a stark reminder that the U.S. labor market continues to be a long way from its pre-pandemic employment levels. The U.S. economy now has a jobs deficit of 8.2 million compared to February, 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic and resulting

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Equitable Growth’s Jobs Day Graphs: April 2021 Report Edition

May 7, 2021

On May 7, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the U.S. labor market during the month of April. Below are five graphs compiled by Equitable Growth staff highlighting important trends in the data.

With fewer jobs added than expected in April, prime-age employment increased only slightly to 76.9 percent from 76.8 percent in March.

Unemployment rates were little changed among most racial and ethnic groups and remain persistently high for Black and Latinx workers.

After stark declines in employment rates for both women and men amid the pandemic, men made small gains in April with no change to women’s employment rate.

The unemployment rate for workers with less than a high school degree increased to 9.3 percent in April from 8.2 percent in

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The consequences of job displacement for U.S. workers

May 5, 2021

Overview

More than a year into the coronavirus recession, unemployment in the United States remains high, and there are 8.4 million fewer jobs than prior to the pandemic. As the U.S. economy begins to recover from the recession caused by this historic public health crisis, some of those who lost their jobs are experiencing what economists refer to as job displacement, where their prior positions no longer exist even as the economy recovers. These workers face unique circumstances when seeking to rejoin the labor force and to reestablish economic security for themselves and their families.

Job displacement is generally understood as a form of job loss that stems from shifting economic and business conditions. For instance, workers can be displaced from their jobs due to a

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The latest Jobs Day report is encouraging yet the number of U.S. workers jobless for 27 weeks or more keeps climbing

April 2, 2021

According to the latest Employment Situation Summary by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 916,000 jobs in March, the biggest month-to-month jump since August of last year. Other measures on the health of the U.S. labor market also point to a recovering economy as the public health crisis begins to abate and Congress proactively enacted continued economic relief.

The latest Jobs Day report shows that share of U.S. workers in their prime working years at ages 25 to 54 who currently have a job —also known as the prime-age employment-to-population ratio—climbed from 76.5 percent in February to 76.8 percent in March, and the national unemployment rate fell from 6.2 percent to 6.0 percent. The Jobs report also shows that last month’s gains were not as strong

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Equitable Growth’s Jobs Day Graphs: March 2021 Report Edition

April 2, 2021

On April 2, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the U.S. labor market during the month of March. Below are five graphs compiled by Equitable Growth staff highlighting important trends in the data.

As the U.S. labor market added 916,000 jobs, the prime-age employment-to-population ratio increased 0.3 percentage points in March.

With the recovery continuing in sectors where Latinx employment is high, the Latinx unemployment rate decreased to 7.9 percent in March from 8.5 percent in February.

Employment growth in March was led by leisure and hospitality and education services as in-person activity was able to resume alongside a notable increase in construction.

Top-line unemployment, also known as U-3, and a broader measure of labor

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JOLTS Day Graphs: January 2021 Edition

March 11, 2021

Every month the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases data on hiring, firing, and other labor market flows from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, better known as JOLTS. Today, the BLS released the latest data for January 2021. This report doesn’t get as much attention as the monthly Employment Situation Report, but it contains useful information about the state of the U.S. labor market. Below are a few key graphs using data from the report.

The quits rate declined slightly to 2.3 percent in January, but remains at pre-pandemic levels following the sharp recovery that began in the summer.

The job opening rate increased slightly while the hire rate decreased slightly in January, leading to a decrease in the vacancy yield for openings-to-hires.

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Four ways to understand the pay divide facing Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women

March 8, 2021

Tomorrow is Asian American and Pacific Islander Women’s Equal Pay Day. The day marks the point in 2021 until which, on average, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women had to work—from the start of 2020 through March 9, 2021—to earn as much as White, non-Latino men earned in 2020 alone. Put differently, this group of women earns 85 cents for every dollar White men make.

Of course, there are big disparities between different subgroups among these women. For instance, Malaysian, Taiwanese, and Indian women’s median earnings surpass those of White men, while Nepalese women earn half as much as White men. Nonetheless, the coronavirus recession overall is hitting Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women workers hard.

Both AANHPI men and women

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Jobs report: a year into the coronavirus recession, employment losses have been greatest for Black women workers and Latinx workers

March 5, 2021

One year after the onset of the coronavirus recession, the U.S. labor market is still a long way from its February 2020 employment levels, but saw important job gains last month. According to the latest Employment Situation Summary by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy in February added 379,000 nonfarm payroll jobs—the greatest month-over-month gain since October of last year.  

Today’s release also shows that between mid-January and mid-February the overall unemployment rate fell from 6.3 to 6.2  percent, with 50,000 workers re-entering the U.S. labor force. Across sectors, last month’s job gains were concentrated in leisure and hospitality, which added 355,000 jobs. Yet data on employment changes over the entire year show that the downturn remains especially

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JOLTS Day Graphs: December 2020 Edition

February 9, 2021

Every month the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases data on hiring, firing, and other labor market flows from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, better known as JOLTS. Today, the BLS released the latest data for December 2020. This report doesn’t get as much attention as the monthly Employment Situation Report, but it contains useful information about the state of the U.S. labor market. Below are a few key graphs using data from the report.

The quits rate increased slightly to 2.3 percent in December, with larger increases to the quits rate in leisure & hospitality and education & health services.

Job openings were little changed but hires decreased in December, leading to a decline in the job vacancy yield.

With little change to

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Jobs report: Coronavirus recession hits workers in low-wage service industries who need access to the social safety net and effective labor protection enforcement

February 5, 2021

Taxis line up outside of Union Station in Washington, D.C., June 2019.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just released its Employment Situation Summary for the month of January, showing that the labor market’s path toward a recovery lost steam over the past few months. In December, the U.S. economy shed 227,000 jobs, breaking a seven-month streak of net job gains. In January, less than 50,000 jobs were added, making December and January the worst months for employment since April, when more than 20 million workers lost their jobs.

At 9.2 percent, the unemployment rate for Black workers fell 0.7 percentage points between mid-December and mid-January, but continues to stand above the jobless rate of any other major racial or ethnic group. The unemployment rate for Asian American

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Equitable Growth’s Jobs Day Graphs: January 2021 Report Edition

February 5, 2021

On February 5th, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the U.S. labor market during the month of January. Below are five graphs compiled by Equitable Growth staff highlighting important trends in the data.

The prime-age employment-to-population ratio increased only slightly to 76.4 percent in January, reflecting a slowdown of the pace of employment recovery since late fall

Unemployment declined for Black, Hispanic and White workers, but remains higher for Black and Hispanic workers, and unemployment increased for Asian American workers, reflecting persistent disparities in unemployment by race.

After a steep decline in December, the leisure and hospitality sector continued to decline in January. Employment growth in all industries remains

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Equitable Growth’s Jobs Day Graphs: December 2020 Report Edition

January 8, 2021

On January 8th, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the U.S. labor market during the month of December. Below are five graphs compiled by Equitable Growth staff highlighting important trends in the data.

Despite an overall decrease in non-farm employment, the prime-age employment rate increased slightly from 76 percent to 76.3 percent.

The unemployment rate increased for Latinx workers in December as employment declined significantly in the leisure and hospitality industry where these workers are over-represented.

The unemployment rate was unchanged in December, but an increasing proportion of unemployed workers were on temporary layoff or new entrants to the labor market.

As the pandemic surged in December, an increasing proportion

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Improving U.S. labor standards and the quality of jobs to reduce the costs of employee turnover to U.S. companies

December 21, 2020

Overview

Implementing policies that improve job quality in the United States could come with a direct cost, such as the cost to a U.S. company from raising wages or providing more paid time off. For these reasons, business interests often argue against policies that improve U.S. labor standards. Yet these qualms are short-sighted. Research on the cost of employee turnover reveals that it costs an average of 40 percent of an individual employee’s annual salary to find a replacement if that employee leaves in search of better job opportunities.

In contrast, U.S. labor market policies that improve job quality have been shown to increase job tenure. Reducing the cost of employee turnover and improving the well-being of workers reinforce each other to the benefit of both companies

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JOLTS Day Graphs: October 2020 Edition

December 9, 2020

Every month the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases data on hiring, firing, and other labor market flows from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, better known as JOLTS. Today, the BLS released the latest data for October 2020. This report doesn’t get as much attention as the monthly Employment Situation Report, but it contains useful information about the state of the U.S. labor market. Below are a few key graphs using data from the report.

The quits rate was unchanged at 2.2% for October, nearly the same level as it was in October 2019, prior to the pandemic.

With hires decreasing by 74,000 and job openings increasing by 160,000, the vacancy yield decreased slightly in October.

The ratio of unemployed workers to job openings continued to

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The coronavirus recession continues to threaten low-wage U.S. workers due to stalled jobs recovery

December 4, 2020

An essential worker restocks the shelves at a Walmart in Salem, Ore., May 2020.Today’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Jobs Report demonstrates a stalled jobs recovery following the deep and rapid economic decline brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. The unemployment rate has decreased slightly to 6.7 percent, but still remains higher than the 3.5 percent unemployment rate in February prior to the start of the coronavirus recession.

The workers who have been hit the hardest continue to be Black workers (10.3 percent), and Latinx workers (8.4 percent). Women workers saw a decrease in unemployment (6.1 percent) that was accompanied by a slight decline in labor force participation (57.1 percent). These workers are also disproportionately low-wage workers as the service sector

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Equitable Growth’s Jobs Day Graphs: November 2020 Report Edition

December 4, 2020

On December 4, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the U.S. labor market during the month of November. Below are five graphs compiled by Equitable Growth staff highlighting important trends in the data.

Prime-age employment held steady at 76 percent showing no improvement in November, after a steep decline in the spring and only a partial recovery in the summer and fall.

The unemployment rate for Black workers remained in double digits at 10.3 percent, while the unemployment rate for White workers declined slightly to 5.9 percent due to workers dropping out of the labor force.

Part-time workers who would prefer full-time work saw no improvement in November as involuntary part-time employment remains 2.3 million above the February level.

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JOLTS Day Graphs: September 2020 Edition

November 10, 2020

Every month the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases data on hiring, firing, and other labor market flows from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, better known as JOLTS. Today, the BLS released the latest data for September 2020. This report doesn’t get as much attention as the monthly Employment Situation Report, but it contains useful information about the state of the U.S. labor market. Below are a few key graphs using data from the report.

The quits rate increased slightly to 2.1 percent in September, signaling stalled prospects for workers. 

The vacancy yield was essentially unchanged in September, as the rate of job openings stayed at 4.3 percent and the rate of hires remained at 4.1 percent. Hires decreased significantly in the federal

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Equitable Growth’s Jobs Day Graphs: October 2020 Report Edition

November 6, 2020

On November 6, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the U.S. labor market during the month of October. Below are five graphs compiled by Equitable Growth staff highlighting important trends in the data.

While the employment rate of prime-age workers continued to recover in October, reaching 76 percent compared to the pre-pandemic height of 80.5 percent, the pace of its improvement has decreased since the summer.

The unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent for all workers, but was significantly higher for Black workers at 10.8 percent. The uncontrolled pandemic, occupational segregation, and labor market discrimination limit the ability of Black unemployment rates to recover and converge with other demographic groups.

Employment growth continues to

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JOLTS Day Graphs: August 2020 Edition

October 6, 2020

Every month the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases data on hiring, firing, and other labor market flows from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, better known as JOLTS. Today, the BLS released the latest data for August 2020. This report doesn’t get as much attention as the monthly Employment Situation Report, but it contains useful information about the state of the U.S. labor market. Below are a few key graphs using data from the report.

The quits rate declined slightly to 2.0% in August as the tenuous recovery stalled.

The vacancy yield edged up slightly as job openings declined and hires were unchanged. The steady hires rate was a result of increased government temporary hiring for the Decennial Census balanced by decreased hiring

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What the coronavirus recession means for U.S. public-sector employment

October 2, 2020

An MTA worker deep cleans a New York City subway car, July 2020. According to the latest Employment Situation report released by Bureau of Labor Statistics today, the U.S. economy in September added 661,000 nonfarm payroll jobs, reflecting an important slowdown in employment growth. Also known as the Jobs Report, the release shows that the share of 25- to 54-year-old prime-age workers who have a job fell from 75.3 percent in August to 75.0 percent, and the number of unemployed workers who report being on a permanent layoff increased by 345,000 for a total of 3.8 million workers out of 12.6 million unemployed workers in September. 

This final Jobs Report before the 2020 presidential election calls into question what policies are needed to foster an equitable and sustained

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Equitable Growth’s Jobs Day Graphs: September 2020 Report Edition

October 2, 2020

On October 2nd, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data on the U.S. labor market during the month of September. Below are five graphs compiled by Equitable Growth staff highlighting important trends in the data.

The employment-to-population ratio for people in their prime working years fell slightly from 75.3 percent to 75.0 percent in September, signaling a stalling recovery for the labor market.

The unemployment rate for Black and Latinx workers remains in double digits at 12.1 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively, remaining significantly higher than White and Asian American workers. In May, Asian American workers saw an unprecedented increase in unemployment, which later fell but remains elevated above White workers.

Employment growth

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Five ways to understand Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

August 13, 2020

Black women hold almost one third of nursing assistance jobsToday is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. This is the day until when Black women have to work, from the start of 2019 through August 2020, to earn as much as White men earned in 2019 alone. In dollars and cents, Black women who work full-time, year-round earn 62 cents for every one dollar full-time, year-round White men workers earn. Lower earnings year-over-year means a lower level of well-being and increased economic risk in a downturn.

Black women face unique barriers at the intersection of race and gender in the U.S. labor market. In a Equitable Growth working paper, titled “Returns in the labor market: A nuanced view of the penalties at the intersection of race and gender,” Mark Paul of the New College of Florida,

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Most recent JOLTS release provides latest data on how the coronavirus recession is different from the Great Recession

August 10, 2020

JOLTS collects data on job openings, hires, layoffs, quits, and other separations between workers and employers.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics today released its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for the month of June. Also known as JOLTS, the survey collects data on job openings, hires, layoffs, quits, and other separations between workers and employers, providing information on the labor market dynamics behind June’s overall change in employment.

Over the past few months, JOLTS data have shown how the coronavirus recession has, so far, been different from previous downturns. In typical economic contractions, the number of job openings, hires, and quits usually start to fall before there is a surge in layoffs because workers and employers become more cautious

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