Black Unemployment Rate at 6.6%, Sharply Above National Average

The unemployment figures for April showed that the economy added 164,000 jobs and the national unemployment rate dropped to 3.9%, a level last matched in December 2000. Yet, the unemployment rate among black Americans was 6.6%. The last time the national unemployment rate was that low was March 2014, as the economy was exiting the Great Recession. The report also put current black unemployment in April 83% above the rate for whites in the same month.

The black unemployment rate in both February and March was 6.9%. At the other end of the scale, the unemployment rate among Asian Americans was 2.8% last month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics top-line summary from the Employment Situation Summary for last month:

In April, the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9 percent, following 6 months at 4.1percent. The number of unemployed persons, at 6.3 million, also edged down over the month.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women decreased to 3.5 percent in April. The jobless rates for adult men (3.7 percent), teenagers (12.9 percent), Whites (3.6 percent), Blacks (6.6 percent), Asians (2.8 percent), and Hispanics (4.8 percent) showed little or no change over the month.

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs declined by 188,000 in April to 3.0 million.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.3 million in April and accounted for 20.0 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 340,000.

Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.3 percent, changed little in April.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 5.0 million in April. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or because they were unable to find full-time jobs.

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