Biden labor secretary concerned about getting minority communities back to work

Marty Walsh says Labor Department focused on Black, Latino unemployment rates

U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said President Biden’s economic recovery plan seems to be working following the release of the June jobs report, but expressed concerns about minority communities reentering the workforce.

"The Black unemployment rate, 9.2%. The Latino unemployment rate, 7.4%," Walsh said. "So we need to really focus on the African-American community and the Latino community to make sure that the growth in the comeback is equitable across the board."

Walsh reacted to the data on "Varney & Co." Friday, which exceeded expectations with indications that 850,000 nonfarm payrolls were added in June, according to the Labor Department.

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Analysts surveyed by Refintiv were expecting the addition of 700,000 and the unemployment rate to fall to 5.7%. May’s reading was revised higher by 24,000 jobs to 583,000.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 5.9% and the labor participation rate remained unchanged at 61.6% since May.

The labor secretary suggested those statistics are due to some of the the workforce still being vaccinated.

"Hopefully we will see more people coming into the workforce and getting jobs after Labor Day," Walsh told FOX BusinessAshley Webster. "I think that if you look at the job growth, you look at the number of people vaccinated, there's a correlation there as well."

Sizable job gains were seen in leisure and hospitality (+343,000), public and private education (+269,000), professional and business services (+72,000), retail trade (+67,000), and other services (+56,000). Industries including construction and healthcare saw little change.

"We're seeing industries opening up," Walsh said. "The other day here in Washington, for the first time, I saw tour buses going around with people on them. I saw the vendors on the streets back. So we're starting to see these cities where we have a lot of tourism generally, we're starting to see them open up."

THESE CITIES ARE SEEING THE FASTEST UNEMPLOYMENT RECOVERY

The jobs gains come as at least 26 states have ended or announced plans to end the $300-per-week supplemental unemployment benefits scheduled to expire in September.

Additionally, average hourly wages in June increased 3.6% year over year, helping lure laborers back to work.

Overall, Walsh called the June jobs report a "positive" one.

"Certainly there are aspects that we would like to see higher numbers in different places," Walsh said, "but overall, it was a good, solid report moving in the right direction."

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FOX Business’ Jonathan Garber contributed to this report.