Unemployment for African-Americans Drops to Lowest Level Since November 2008

But at 11.6 percent, the unemployment rate for African-Americans is still more than double that of whites.

Chicago hosts a job fair for city jobs.
National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
May 2, 2014, 5:33 a.m.

The un­em­ploy­ment rate for Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans is the low­est it’s been dur­ing the Obama pres­id­ency, fall­ing to 11.6 per­cent in April.

The latest fig­ures from the Bur­eau of Labor Stat­ist­ics re­leased Fri­day not only show a de­crease of 0.8 per­cent in the black un­em­ploy­ment rate from March to April, they also show that this is the low­est un­em­ploy­ment rate for Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans in over five years.

The last time the job­less rate was this low was in Novem­ber 2008, sit­ting at 11.5 per­cent. The next month, it rose to 12.1 per­cent and stayed high for the next five years, peak­ing at 16.9 per­cent in March 2010.

Un­em­ploy­ment among Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans, however, re­mains a ma­jor prob­lem. Last month, more than 2.2 mil­lion Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans were un­em­ployed, the highest rate of any ra­cial group.

In April, the un­em­ploy­ment rate dropped for whites to 5.3 per­cent, His­pan­ics to 7.3 per­cent and Asi­ans to 5.7 per­cent.

That means, too, that the un­em­ploy­ment rate for black Amer­ic­ans is more than double that of whites, which is not a new trend. A Pew study from last year shows that since 1954, when the BLS con­sist­ently star­ted re­cord­ing un­em­ploy­ment by race, the rate for Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans has con­sist­ently been twice that of whites.

So, while un­em­ploy­ment is in­deed de­creas­ing across most demo­graph­ics, Fri­day’s num­bers con­tin­ue to show a ra­cial dis­par­ity in em­ploy­ment.

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