June 4, 2020

Economic Recovery is Spelled J-O-B-S

Economic Recovery is Spelled J-O-B-S

Every first Friday morning of every month at 8:30am ET, we partake in a long honored tradition—poring over one very specific set of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That data is the monthly jobs report, and it’s become an essential part of our assessment of the U.S. economy. 

Every first Friday morning of every month at 8:30am ET, we partake in a long honored tradition—poring over one very specific set of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That data is the monthly jobs report, and it’s become an essential part of our assessment of the U.S. economy. 


Because having a job means supporting yourself and your family, a basic human need just like clothing and shelter and food. But right now, millions of Americans are without that basic human need. 


40 million to be exact. That’s how many people have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began. But how are we to put a number that enormous in context? And how are we to understand who bears its impacts the most? And how are we to determine when 40 million shrinks to zero?


This week on Business Casual, we’re doing our best to answer those questions with Karin Kimbrough, chief economist at LinkedIn and labor market expert. Hearing her masterfully simple explanation of the U.S. labor market is like seeing Bigfoot...you’ve always wanted to experience it, but you weren’t sure it ever existed.


Karin also illustrates the stark disparity at play in the labor market at any given moment...and why this particular moment is exacerbating those disparities.

  • One race issue: Unemployment has been widespread during the pandemic and economic crisis, but minorities including black and Latino Americans have carried the burden of the downturn more than any other group...and that’s not helping today’s unrest. Per Karin, “I think here you're seeing people feel like they went overnight from feeling like they had a lot of promise and opportunity to having nothing.”
  • One gender issue: With most schools and summer programs closed, unemployment is affecting women at a considerably higher rate than men.


The big picture: As Karin sees it, unemployment and hiring rates are the best metrics for understanding when the economy can get back on its feet. And that’s a question we’d all like an answer to.


Listen to our episode with Karin now and let us know what you think.


+ The Bureau of Labor Statistics’s May jobs report comes out the day after this episode hits the wires. We’re pregaming already. Start your own pregame with these stats: 

  • April jobs report—unemployment rate surged to a record 14.7% and payrolls dropped by a historic 20.5 million workers
  • May jobs report expectations, per Refinitiv—unemployment rate of 19.8% with about 8.5 million jobs lost


Place your bets now.