Employment expert breaks down Friday's drop in unemployment

Full Employment Council
Posted at 3:37 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 19:06:40-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — New unemployment rate numbers show a significant improvement since April.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported Friday that the U.S. added 2.5 million jobs, which helped decrease the unemployment rate by 1.4%.

The report shows the unemployment rate decreased from 14.7% in April to 13.3% in May.

Clyde McQueen, president and CEO of the Full Employment Council in Kansas City, said it's important to keep in mind that those numbers include part-time and full-time workers.

"If a person was working 40 hours and they went back to work in 20 hours, that still counts as employment in the activity rate that's recorded," McQueen said.

Still, McQueen said 13.3% is a huge number.

"That is a large number of people in our region, which probably has at least a million or so people in there, that's still 100,000 people," McQueen said.

Wichita resident Jocelyn Bannon worked in the aviation industry before the pandemic. She's been without an income for nine weeks, is still waiting on unemployment benefits, and doesn't expect to get back to work soon.

"Not working and not having any money and just having people calling me and me having to tell them that, you know, I don't have any money to pay you right now, that's been extraordinarily stressful for me," Bannon said.

Bannon said she knows firsthand the reported drop in the percentage rate isn't a reason to celebrate.

"I think we're going to have a long road ahead of us," Bannon said. "I hope people get the aid they deserve and are qualified for and that everybody is able to weather their way through this."