The Bureau of Labor Statistics released THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — MAY 2022. The key statistic was the economy added 390,000 jobs and unemployment was steady at 3.6% compared to the April numbers. The figures were considered modest compared to months since the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic battered the economy.
Several industries did very well. These included leisure and hospitality and professional and business services.
One group posted figures much worse than the national number. Unemployment among Blacks was 6.2%. This was 94% above the number for White Americans, which was 3.2%. Among other major demographic groups, the figure for adult males was 3.4%, which was the same as the number for women. Among Asians, the number was 2.4%. Among Hispanics, the figure was 4.3%.
The reasons Black Americans have higher jobless rates than whites fall into several categories. The Economic Policy Institute reports that among the primary reasons are “racism” and single adult households where one person tries to care for children and hold a full-time job at the same time.
The American Progressive reports that the spread between Black and White jobless rates goes back to 1972 when the BLS started to gather monthly employment data. It gives incarceration, the rate of which is higher among Blacks than Whites as another reason. “Mass incarceration plays a significant role in the lower labor force participation rate for African American men.” Educational attainment is another reason. Whites tend to graduate both high school and college at a higher rate than Blacks.
None of these reasons can be taken alone according to many experts. They represent a web of problems Black Americans face as they try to enter the workforce. One thing almost all experts agree on is that they will not go away.
A study done by 24/7 Wall St. last year shows the deep problems can be further explained at the city level. Among the Worst Cities for Black Americans: “Black residents in these metro areas are much less likely to hold a high school diploma or college degree than white residents. Lower levels of high school attainment can drive down wages and make it more difficult to find a job.”
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