Nonfarm businesses added a better than expected 225,000 jobs in January, but the black unemployment rate rose although some businesses were scrambling for workers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning.
The jobless rate for African Americans was 6.0 percent, compared to 5.9 percent in December 2019, BLS reported. Year-over-year, the black jobless rate has markedly improved from 7.4 percent in January 2019.
Still, the black unemployment rate was much higher than the white jobless rate of 3.1 percent.
Elise Gould, an economist for the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute, noted the difference.
“The unemployment rate is notably volatile especially month to month, but the black unemployment rate remains consistently significantly higher than the white unemployment rate. In January, the black unemployment rate was nearly 2 times the white unemployment rate (6.0% vs. 3.1%),” Gould wrote on EPI’s website.
The black unemployment rate was also higher when compared to Hispanic jobless rate (4.3 percent) and Asian unemployment (3.0 percent), which is always the lowest.
The jobless rate for black men 20 and older was 5.6 percent, down from 5.8 percent in December. The unemployment for black women 20 and older was 5.3 percent up from 5.0 percent in December.
BLS noted that the unemployment rate has remained essentially the same at 3.6 percent with job gains occurring in construction, health care, transportation and warehousing.
In another sign of the strong economy, the number of re-entrants to the labor force increased by 183,000 in January to 1.8 million but was little changed over the year, BLS reported.