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Black unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in August, down from 6.0 percent in July


Jobless rate increases for black men but drops for black women

The nation’s nonfarm companies added a lower than expected 130,000 jobs in August, pushing the jobless rate among black men up slightly.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday the jobless rate for black men 20 and older was 5.9 percent. This compares with 5.8 percent in July and 5.8 percent for August 2018, BLS reported.

Black men’s jobless rate is higher than that of whites, Hispanics and Asians.

The overall black unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in August compared with 6.0 percent in July and 6.5 percent in August 2018.

The unemployment rate for black women 20 and older in August was 4.4 percent compared with 5.3 percent in July, according to BLS.


Jobless rate for blacks is always higher because of race discrimination

Despite the improvement among black women and the slight increase in unemployment among black men, black workers are twice as likely to be unemployed as white workers overall, Jhacova Williams, economist on Race, Ethnicity and Economy for the Economic Policy Institute, and Valerie Wilson, director of the program on Race and Ethnicity, the Economy for the Economic Policy Institute, wrote in a paper titled “Black Workers endure persistent racial disparities in employment outcomes.” EPI published the paper on Labor Day.

“Even black workers with a college degree are more likely to be unemployed than similarly educated white workers. This relatively high black unemployment and skills-base underemployment suggest that racial discrimination remains a failure of an otherwise tight labor market.”

August Jobs Report

Elise Gould, senior economist for the Economic Policy Institute, said August’s jobs report numbers were “modest.” The employment number brings the average monthly job growth this year so far down to 143,000, compared to a stronger 208,000 jobs created on average in the first eight months of last year, Gould wrote in the paper “U.S. job growth weaker in 2019.”

The unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent in August. Nominal wages grew 3.2 percent year-over-year in August, which is slower than expected in an economy that has had historically low unemployment.



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