By Isaac Cohen*

Thirsting for good news, last week, the White House highlighted the last employment figures released by the Labor Department. The creation of 4.8 million jobs in June, after an increase of 2.7 million jobs in May, defied most predictions, while the unemployment rate decreased to 11.1 percent, from 13.3 percent in May and 14.7 in April. This means that since last February almost 15 million jobs were lost, together with an increase in unemployment from 3.5 percent, while more than 30 million workers are receiving unemployment benefits.

With government support, for example through the Paycheck Protection Program, the rebound in employment resulted from the reopening of businesses mostly in the hospitality and leisure sector, which added 2.1 million jobs, or almost 40 percent of the job gains in June. However, as with the pandemic, unemployment was higher among minorities, 15.4 percent for African Americans and 14.5 percent for Hispanics, compared to 10.1 percent for white workers.

Be it as it may, the economic outlook depends from the spread of the virus. While the employment numbers look backwards, several states that opened early are experiencing increases in Covid-19 cases. The risk, described by Justin Lahart in The Wall Street Journal (07/03/20), is “an unfortunate cycle, where employment gains lead to more Covid-19 cases… the challenge is to break that cycle.”

*International analyst and consultant, former Director ECLAC Washington. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, TELEMUNDO and UNVISION and other media.

About Ramón Jiménez

Ramón Jiménez, Managing Editor de MetroLatinoUSA.Com (MLN). Graduado de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad del Distrito de Columbia (UDC). Email:

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