Black Unemployment Rate Remains Above 6%

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The economy added 201,000 jobs in August and the unemployment rate stayed at an extraordinarily low 3.9%. But black Americans have a rate that was 62% above the national rate, or 6.2%.

The black unemployment rate was 5.9% in May and has been above 6% since then. Granted, the rate was 7.9% in August 2017. However, the ratio to the national rate has changed very little.

The comparison is even starker when measured against two other groups. The unemployment rate for white Americans was 3.4% in August. For Asian Americans, the number was 3.0%.

The summary of the Bureau of Labor Statistics data for August:

The unemployment rate remained at 3.9 percent in August, and the number of unemployed persons, at 6.2 million, changed little.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5 percent), adult women (3.6 percent), teenagers (12.8 percent), Whites (3.4 percent), Blacks (6.3 percent), Asians (3.0 percent), and Hispanics (4.7 percent) showed little or no change in August.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed in August at 1.3 million and accounted for 21.5 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 403,000.

Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.3 percent, declined by 0.2 percentage point in August.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 4.4 million, changed little over the month but was down by 830,000 over the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time
employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

In August, 1.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little different from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.