7.5% of Black Americans Remain Unemployed

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced on Friday that unemployment fell to 4.1% in October. By some measures, that was a 17-year low. One group that still suffers from unusually high, nearly recession-level joblessness, is black Americans. The jobless rate for the group was 7.5% last month.

The 7.5% figure is particularly high when compared to other groups. The unemployment rate for adult women was 3.6%. For adult men, it was 3.8%. (Each of these groups would have posted better numbers if the figures for black Americans were backed out.) Among white Americans, it was 3.5%. The unemployment rate among Asian Americans was 3.1%. The only large group with an unemployment rate worse than black Americans was teenagers, for which the jobless rate was 13.7%.

It is worth noting that the unemployment rate among black Americans has improved over the course of the year, which is true for most groups. A year ago, the number was 8.4% among black Americans.

A rundown of the part of the BLS report:

The unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 4.1 percent in October, and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 281,000 to 6.5 million. Since January, the unemployment rate has declined by 0.7 percentage point, and the number of unemployed
persons has decreased by 1.1 million.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.6 percent) and Whites (3.5 percent) declined in October. The jobless rates for adult men (3.8 percent), teenagers (13.7 percent), Blacks (7.5 percent), Asians (3.1 percent), and Hispanics (4.8 percent) showed little change.

In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.6 million and accounted for 24.8 percent of the unemployed.

The labor force participation rate decreased by 0.4 percentage point to 62.7 percent in October but has shown little movement on net over the past 12 months. The employment-population ratio declined by 0.2 percentage point over the month to 60.2 percent, after increasing by 0.3 percentage point in September. The employment-population ratio is up by 0.5 percentage point over the year.