The economy is starting to recover, but it’s leaving black women behind

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! UOMA Beauty’s founder pressures brands to share their diversity numbers, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser makes an artistic gesture, and economic recovery is leaving black women behind. Have a mindful Monday. 

– The real jobs report. The May jobs report showed a surprising recovery for the economy, with unemployment down for nearly every group. But the unemployment rate increased last month for one category of workers: black women.

Black women’s unemployment, according to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center, went up slightly to 16.5% in May from 16.4% in April, one of the only groups to see an uptick during a month when the overall unemployment rate declined to 13.3% from 14.7%.

The economy gained 2.5 million jobs in May—and it seems those jobs are not going to black women.

The data, of course, arrives against the backdrop of nationwide protests against racism and police brutality. Longtime economic disparities like these are one of the many underlying reasons the protests have taken hold with such fervor across the country. The data follows the same trends the U.S. saw during the last recession, says Jasmine Tucker, lead researcher for the NWLC. While the 2008 crisis hit industries like construction that are largely occupied by men, white men recovered from the downturn more quickly than black women, who didn’t dip below double-digit unemployment until 2014. (White men’s unemployment never rose above 10%).

You can read my full story on what the May jobs report tells us about black women’s employment here.

Before we go, I’d also encourage you to spend some time with these pieces published Friday in honor of what would have been Breonna Taylor’s 27th birthday. Taylor was shot eight times and killed by police officers while she was sleeping in her bed in Louisville, Kentucky in March; those officers have not been charged.

The Cut spoke to Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, about her daughter. “It’s hard to think without her. She was so much like me it’s unreal. But she was a much better version,” Palmer said in a moving tribute.

NPR talked to family and friends about Taylor, an EMT who found her job in healthcare “so rewarding.” “She always said that she would be a legend,” Taylor’s friend Erinicka Hunter said. “I just never imagined it would be like this.”

Emma Hinchliffe
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