Economists say the United States has achieved full employment, with 96 out of every 100 people who want to work having jobs. Unemployment has reached a nearly 50-year low, and the jobless rate for Hispanics has never been lower. The past two years have been the best job market ever for African Americans, and wages are beginning to rise, even for the lowest-paid workers. The U.S. economy has also grown for nearly 10 years, marking one of the longest economic expansions in our history. While all of this is positive news, taking a deeper look reveals that income inequality is still significant, with economic divisions along racial and gender lines. Many continue to struggle with student debt and health care costs. Part of the issue is that after the Great Recession wages fell and workers lost negotiating power. While Hispanics have made progress in finding jobs and earning higher wages, as well as in homebuying, the Hispanic jobless rate is higher than it is for whites, and they still make about 25% less than their white coworkers. With the economy recovering, the country is seeing another wave of migration among African Americans – this time from Northern cities to the South. The moves are driven by better job opportunities, more affordable housing and the pursuit of a better lifestyle. The rate of joblessness for African Americans in the past two years is the best in history, but it is still more than double that of whites. Wages for African Americans have grown more slowly than for any other group in the past 10 years.
Read the full article on NPR.org.