April’s jobless rate for black men and black women improved to 6.60%, down from 6.90% in March as the nonfarm business payroll increased by 164, 000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.
The jobless rate for blacks was the lowest since 1972 but that was because some African Americans stopped looking for work. There was a lower labor-participation rate in April for African Americans compared to March, according to BLS.
The labor-participation rate was 61.9% in April, down from 62.7% in March. The labor-participation rate measures the number of people who are employed or are looking for work.
The government counts a person as unemployed if he or she is out of work but looking for work. BLS reported that 18.9 million blacks were employed in April down from 19.0 million in March. The number of blacks not in the labor force in April was 12.4 million, up from 12.2 million in March.
Although the unemployment rate for African Americans improved, it was still higher compared to whites, which was 3.60%. The jobless rate for Hispanics was 4.80%. Asians had the lowest unemployment rate of 2.80%.
The overall unemployment rate dropped to 3.9% from 4.1%.
The unemployment rate in April for black men 20 years old and older was 6.4 percent, up from 6.10% in March, BLS reported. The jobless rate for black women 20 years old and older in April was 5.30% down from 6.00% in March.
BLS reported that employment increased in professional and business services, manufacturing, health care and mining.