The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its report on THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — JUNE 2023, showing continued strong U.S. labor growth. The economy added 209,000 jobs, slightly below expectations. However, unemployment rates still vary significantly based on gender and race. Notably, the jobless rate for black people was 93% higher than for white people.
Looking at different demographic categories, the jobless rate for whites was 3.1%, while it stood at 6.0% for blacks. Among adult men, the rate was 3.4%, and among women, it was 3.1%. For teenagers, it was 11.0%. Asians had a jobless rate of 3.2%, and Hispanics 4.3%.
Several factors contribute to the higher jobless rates among black Americans than whites. Racism and single-adult households, where one person must balance childcare and full-time employment, are among the primary reasons, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
The American Progressive reports that the disparity between black and white jobless rates dates back to 1972 when the BLS started gathering monthly employment data. Another reason is incarceration. “Mass incarceration plays a significant role in the lower labor force participation rate for African American men.” Educational attainment is another reason. White people tend to graduate from high school and college at a higher rate than black people.
Experts emphasize that these reasons are interconnected, forming a complex set of challenges that black Americans face when entering the workforce. It is widely agreed upon that these issues cannot be easily resolved.
A study by 24/7 Wall St. further delves into the problem at the city level, revealing cities where Black Americans encounter significant difficulties. “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.” Based on all these factors, the gulf between Black unemployment and white is unlikely to change. (These are the worst states for black Americans.)
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