African American Unemployment Rate Shrinks to 15.8%

Overall joblessness remains steady at 9.7%

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The unemployment rate among African Americans improved slightly in February, shrinking from 16.5% to 15.8% for the month, according to Labor Department statistics released Friday.  In contrast, the overall jobless rate remained steady at 9.7%.

Despite the contraction of the African American jobless rate, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis says there is still much work to be done.

“There is an extremely high number of unemployment in the African American community,” she said. “We want to work with Congress to make sure that more money is available to programs such as Pathways Out of Poverty, which targets high unemployment areas through unique job training opportunities such as retrofitting or weatherizing.”

Overall 36,000 jobs were vaporized last month, leaving 14.9 million people out of work. The U.S. economy has lost some 8.4 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. The latest job cuts continued across the employment spectrum. Construction jobs fell by 64,000 and information industry jobs dropped by 18,000, while temporary help services added 48,000 jobs. Healthcare continues to trend upward. Manufacturing and retail trade employment remained unchanged.  Severe winter weather in parts of the country may have affected payroll employment and hours.

Today’s numbers show that the economy is moving in the right direction, says Solis.  “Getting Americans back to work remains one of our main priorities,” said Solis. “It’s important that we look at the trends and the trends show that we are loosing fewer jobs per month which is closer to consistent job creation.”

  • Frederick H. Lowe

    The black-male unemployment rate climbed to 17.8% in February compared with 17.6% in January, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 1,424 million black men were jobless in February compared with 1,405 million black men who were jobless in January. You should check your work. I guess at Black Enterprise black men don’t count.

    • Frederick, I’m a black male whom have to disagree with your stated findings without additional info from the source. Please provide a link to this data. I decided to check on your claim at the To do this I navigated to that link, scrolled to the employment section, at the monthly row look beneath for Labor Force Statistics
      (Current Population Survey – CPS)
      to the right of that click the green magnifying glass that says onscreen data search. A java session will start in a new window. Steps 1 through 10 allows you to get data on different sexes and races. Step 1, Select men, Step 2, Select black or African American, Step 3 has only one option for origin, Step 4 select 16 years and older, Step 5 select All education levels, Step 6 select all marital statuses, Step 7 select unemployment rate, Step 8 select only the not seasonally adjusted to get the raw data vs the seasonally adjusted. Step 9 Select monthly and Step 10 select get data. You will see that from Jan to Feb there has been a .6 reduction in the unemployment rate (20.7 to 20.1) for us black men. I have no knowledge of prior sexist views that you are apparently accusing the female author of so i’ll stay out of that. However, I must say before destroying your source’s reputation with incorrect quotes. Please double check your data.

  • Here is a more direct link to backup my findings. This shows all data in a table.

  • Frederick H. Lowe

    Kevin, my statements, not quotes, were not incorrect. Check the unemployment rate for black men 20 years old and older.

  • Frederick H. Lowe

    Kenny, check Table A2 of the Employment status of the civilian population by race, sex and age. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the data.
    The numbers are there in black and white. My comments don’t make me sexist. Black Enterprise failed to print all of the information.

    • We must be looking at different data sheets. Next to unemployed i see these numbers. Be careful because the table starts with 2009 then Jan, Feb and these numbers correspond to Jan Feb respectively 1,565 1,523.

  • Either way the numbers are crappy. Nothing getting better where i live in NY

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  • Robert

    To have these numbers be so high is purely criminal! Why is no one at all talking about this? It is never on the news, congress does not ever mention it and sadly even the Black Congressional Congress will not voice their displeasure. During Bushes last year in 2008, the black unemployment rate was 8.9% and in 2007 it was 7.5%. During these years, all we heard from the press, congress and our own civil rights leaders was that Bush did not care about us! Where are these people now?????

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