Black unemployment rate drops to lowest on record in March 2023

Credit: Scott Olson/Getty

Jhe African American unemployment rate in March fell to the lowest on record in US history.

According to data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the black unemployment rate is at 5%, plunging more than half a percentage point from the rate recorded in February.

The black unemployment rate rose to 5.7% in February, a month that saw a 0.3% rise in black unemployment from January. Generally, the black unemployment rate this year has hovered between 5.7% and over 6%.

A closer look at the March jobs report showed other major gains for the black workforce.

Aside from the unemployment rate for black males aged 20 and older which increased slightly by 0.1%, the unemployment rate for black females as well as that for black teens both fell significantly.

The unemployment rate for black women last stood at 4.2%, down from 5.1% in February, also a record low.

Additionally, not only black teens saw their unemployment rate drop nearly 6 percentage points, from 20.4% to 14.5%.

The jobs report also found that “the share of black workers in jobs exceeds the share of white workers in first-time jobs,” William E. Spriggs, AFL-CIO chief economist and professor in economics at Howard University. , tweeted friday morning.

An estimated 236,000 jobs were added in March, with “leisure and hospitality, government, professional and business services and healthcare” industries receiving the bulk of them, according to BLS.

While the March figures show the lowest black unemployment rate on record, the overall state of black unemployment has lagged far behind the unemployment of people of other racial backgrounds.

By comparison, the unemployment rate for whites in March was 3.2%; for Asians was 2.8%; and for Hispanics was 4.6%.

It’s not for nothing that last month’s 5% black unemployment rate smashes that which former President Donald Trump previously and willingly took credit for in 2019.

At the time, Trump boasted of an unemployment rate for African Americans that was almost 2 percentage points higher than the rate recorded in March.

“Best numbers we’ve ever had: African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, female, everything. We have the best numbers we’ve had in many, many decades.” Trump told reporters in October 2019 on the unemployment rates of the previous month.

At this pre-pandemic point, black unemployment was 6.6%.

The truth is that the black unemployment rate has steadily increased over the past decade. Of course, the pandemic has certainly exacerbated those impressive numbers, but the problem has been prevalent in the community for some time now.

According to a report from Centers for American Progress, between January 1972 and December 2019, the unemployment rate for African Americans was “twice as high” as that for whites. The rate briefly fell during the Great Recession of 2008, but the numbers did not show a significant enough improvement in the years that followed.

Between January 1972 and December 2019, it never reached 1.5 times the white rate, the report notes.


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