Jobless rate down for Black men, but up for Black women. African-American jobless rate is much higher than other racial and ethnic groups
The nation's nonfarm businesses hired 192,000 workers in March, but the overall seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for African Americans rose to 12.4 percent compared to 12 percent in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning. The jobless rate for Black men 20 years old and old was 12.1 percent in March compared to 12.9 percent in February. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for black women 20 years old and older, however, rose to 11.0 percent in March compared to 9.9 percent in February, BLS reported.
Although the jobless rate for black men dropped in February, the unemployment rate for African Americans exceeds all the other major worker groups except teen agers 16 to 19 years old, which was 18.3 percent in March the same as February.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for white men 20 years old and older was 5.3 percent in March compared to 5.5 percent in February. The jobless rate for white women was 5.3 percent in March, up from 5.1 percent in February.
The unemployment rate for Hispanics continues to decline, according to BLS. The unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in March compared to 8.1 percent in February.
The Asian unemployment rate, which was not seasonally, was 5.4 percent in March compared to 6.0 percent in February.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics did not provide an explanation as to why the jobless rate increased for blacks overall, but Dr. Heidi Shierholz, a labor force participation economist for the Economic Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C., gave an explanation.
"The increase was entirely among women. But this is one of those cases where I wouldn’t make much of it, because there is so much month-to-month volatility. I don’t think the labor market for black workers is deteriorating right now, but it is getting better very, very slowly," Dr. Shierholz said.
The number of unemployed persons was unchanged at 10.5 million and the unemployment rate remained at 6.7 percent. The number of long-term unemployed or those out work 27 weeks or more was 3.7 million and there were 698,000 discouraged workers in March, which was slightly down from a year ago.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that construction, food services and drinking places, health care, mining, logging, professional business services, architectural and engineering services added jobs.