For the first time in nearly two decades the unemployment rate dipped under 4 percent, with the unemployment rate for 18 to 24 year olds falling to 8.4 percent. This major milestone marks a strong jobs report which shows 164,000 jobs being added to the economy in the month of April. These numbers, however, do not translate to strong increases in wages for workers, with the report showing a 2.6 percent year-over-year increase. Republicans in Congress continue to campaign on their landmark tax legislation that holds a historically low approval rating. Some of the legislators that drafted and voted for the bill have backtracked on the bold claims made last year that the legislation would not be a big giveaway to corporations, but would instead result in increased wages. While the full effects of the legislation have yet to materialize, we do know that the tax legislation—like Sen. Rubio said—made corporations happy, with no evidence that their savings were passed down to American workers.
The youth unemployment rate for Americans 18 to 26 has dropped steadily for the last three months and now sits at 8.4 percent. When segmented by race, we see drops in every group. The white youth unemployment rate decreased from 7 percent to 6.7 percent, the black rate decreased from 13.3 percent to 12.7 percent, the Latino rate decreased from 9.3 to 7.9 percent, and the Asian rate, which is volatile due to the small sample size, decreased from 8.3 to 5.5 percent. At this point last year the black youth unemployment rate was 1.2 percent higher. This number experienced the largest decrease, while the Latino youth unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percent since April 2017. While President Trump holds rallies across the country touting the decrease in the black unemployment rate, the numbers show that young black people experience nearly double the unemployment rate than their white counterparts. When 12.7 percent of young black Americans are unemployed, celebrating a decreasing trend without acknowledging the serious inequalities is deceitful and dishonest.
The labor force participation rate (LFPR) measures the amount of people employed out of the entire population. For the month of April, the LFPR for all workers 16 and older decreased slightly to 62.8 percent and the rate for ages 16 to 24 increased by 0.3 percent. These numbers are weak compared to pre-Recession LFPR numbers and shows that while the economy improves, some people are pausing their search for work. The LFPR for Americans 25 to 34 is stronger than the LFPR for Americans 16 to 24 but has remained unchanged from March, now sitting at 82.5 percent.