U.S. employers added 145,000 jobs in December 2019, keeping unemployment at the record low of 3.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
“Notable job gains occurred in retail trade and health care, while mining lost jobs,” BLS reported on Friday.
Black and Hispanic unemployment rates remained near record lows. Black unemployment bottomed out at 5.5 percent in September, with Hispanic unemployment at 3.9 percent that month. The numbers for December — 5.9 percent for blacks and 4.2 percent for Hispanics — remained close to those record lows.
These unemployment numbers represent a strong economy, which has enjoyed growth thanks in part to Trump’s tax cuts in 2017 and his efforts to curtail federal regulations.
Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and America’s first black billionaire, praised President Donald Trump for the roaring economy, giving him an “A+.”
“I think the economy is doing great, and it’s reaching populations that heretofore had very bad problems in terms of jobs and employments and the opportunities that come with employment … so African-American unemployment is at its lowest level,” Johnson said last July.
However, the unemployment figures do not tell the whole story. BLS only counts someone as unemployed if he or she is still seeking work. The labor force participation rate, which measures the total number of workers who are employed or seeking work out of the total civilian working-age population, has hovered around 63 percent since 2014, and it stood at 63.2 percent in December.
This economic growth is strong, but there is still more room for recovery.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.