Ongoing reliance on state-level, race-neutral job market measures provide an incomplete picture of the health of Georgia’s workforce. On the surface, Georgia has maintained a robust job market with a low overall unemployment rate of 3.3%. This low unemployment rate is partially attributed to a hiring pace that has stayed ahead of layoffs despite federal actions to slow the economy as part of efforts to fight rapid inflation. Beneath that surface, however, disaggregated data shows that an outsized share of Black, Brown and other Georgians with low incomes were harmed by inflation-fighting efforts. After reaching landmark employment levels in mid-2022, Black workers experienced 60% more unemployment spells than white workers. Since summer 2023, among workers in their prime working ages of 25 to 54, Black and Hispanic workers have experienced eroding employment levels, while white workers have continued to see an uptick in employment, surpassing their pre-pandemic peak. Furthermore, Georgia’s economic growth has not meaningfully lifted those earning low incomes, who saw some of the largest pay growth (21%) from 2019 to 2022 but whose buying power only rose by 4% over the same period due to inflation. To address these gaps, Georgia lawmakers must not only view the state’s job market through a racial equity lens but utilize this data as part of a worker-centered change of course to address the many barriers that continue to leave workers behind.
Louisianans are working at near record numbers, and the state’s unemployment rate continues at or nearrecord lows. The state’s rapid recovery follows a chaotic period of massive, pandemic-related job losses, seesawing energy prices and structural changes to the state and national economies.
Beneath this recent good news lies some stark realities: Wages for most workers are flat, and often are not enough to support a family. There continues to be large wage and income disparities between Blacks and whites, the young and the old, men and women, the highly educated and those with less education. Several of the sectors that employ the largest number of Louisianans and have added the most jobs – retail trade, accommodation and food service, and health care – tend to pay some of the lowest wages and often offer little room for advancement.
This report is meant to give an overview of Louisiana’s economy through the eyes of its workers. While the strength of an economy is often measured in gross domestic product, corporate profits or the fate of the stock market, the most important economic question is how it serves ordinary citizens: Do most people’s jobs allow them to afford a safe place to live, food for their table, and reliable transportation?
A strong minimum wage, tax credits for working families, new investments in education and training, and pro-union policies that make it easier for workers to advocate for themselves can all move Louisiana toward a more equitable economy that works for everyone. But these policy solutions can only take root if we start by asking the right questions.
This July, Ohio reached a critical milestone. The state posted the largest number of jobs in its history: 5,639,200. Reaching this benchmark was especially important because the previous peak was more than 23 years ago, in May 2000. The July jobs number is preliminary, so we could learn that the true milestone came a month or so before or after, but what’s clear is that Ohio’s recovery from the COVID-created recession stands in stark contrast to the two decades prior, in which the state’s recoveries from recessions were slow and incomplete. This could be a turning point for the state. After decades in which corporations held wages nearly flat and captured most of the economic gains made possible by Ohio’s working people, the labor market is tilting in favor of workers.