Unemployment Rate for African Americans Inches Higher in May

Unemployment Rate for African Americans Inches Higher in May

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The U.S. Department of Labor today released its May jobs report, and the story continued to be demoralizing for African Americans — the unemployment rate among blacks rose to 16.2 percent, up ever so slightly from the 16.1 percent reading for April.

The unemployment rate for all Americans rose a tenth of a percent as well, to 9.1 percent.

The increase in unemployment among blacks is especially troubling because it indicates a true lack of available jobs, versus the uptick in that commonly occurs when more people enter the workforce.

That bump commonly occurs because discouraged workers, those who have given up, are not counted as part of the labor force, which includes only people at work or actively looking for work. Ironically, when discouraged workers renew their hunt for jobs, they rejoin the count, the labor force swells, and the unemployment rate often kicks up, even though more people are finding work.

Unfortunately, more African Americans grew discouraged and left the labor force. In May, there were 17.7 million African Americans in the labor force, a decrease from the 17.8 million reported in April. The number of employed African Americans fell to 14.9 million in May, down from April’s 15 million.

The unemployment number may increase as the nation moves into the summer months and more college and high-school graduate scour bulletin boards and classified ads looking for work.

How this affects the 2012 presidential election is at this point unknown, but no incumbent president has been reelected with an unemployment rate above 8 percent.

The timing of Mitt Romney’s announcement that he is running for the Republican nomination signals commentators, analysts, and the electorate that the former Massachusetts governor will focus on jobs and the economy.

Today’s jobs report gives Romney plenty of talking points for this weekend’s TV shows. And when slow job growth is considered along with other issues — $14 trillion in debt, a growing deficit, and tepid growth in gross domestic product — it appears likely that Romney, other Republican candidates and President Barack Obama will be talking economic policy for a long, long time.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Black Caucus Wants to Get You a Job

    Frustrated by inaction from Capitol Hill, the CBC is trying a new line of attack on unemployment: a traveling job fair with a twist.

    By: Cynthia Gordy | Posted: June 23, 2011 at 1:24 AM
    RECOMMENDATION:

    Dr. Elsie Harper-Anderson should be included on the CBC's Jobs Initiative Advisory Council. The range from conservative leaning Democrats to far right Republicans across the isle, the House and the Senate are amenable to loosening job creation valves when presented with "what they perceive" as a digestible value proposition. With cuts in WIA (workforce development funding) and high unemployment trends across all communities and industry sectors, Dr. Harper-Anderson cross-building recommendations allows for supply-sided economic stabilization & growth while creating innovation pathways re-invigorate workforce development systems along high-growth sectors and thereby framing activity leading to tandem trajectories of stimulated economic growth and job attachment for dislocated and most vulnerable human capital. Her methodology offers a framework or "platter" on which both sides of the isle may "break bread" and team-up for an "Improved America for All": it should also be a leading track on the CBC's Jobs Tour when engaging local and regional leadership responsible for workforce and economic development "decision making". It is the missing link of the "Jobs for Main Street" mantra. Just my .06 cent donation. Please, "re"invest in the solution for jobs 🙂

    Thanks,
    A Constituent

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