African America’s October Unemployment Report – 14.3%


Overall Unemployment: 7.9% (7.8%)

African America Unemployment: 14.3% (13.4%)

Latino America Unemployment: 10.0% (9.9%)

European America Unemployment: 7.0% (7.0%)

Asian America Unemployment: 4.9% (4.8%)

Analysis: African America saw a significant uptick in the unemployment rate from 13.4% in the previous month. European America’s unemployment rate was unchanged and Asian and Latino America sees negligible uptick.

African American Male Unemployment: 14.1% (14.2%)

African American Female Unemployment: 12.4% (10.9%)

African American Teenage Unemployment: 40.5% (36.7%)

African American Male Participation: 67.7% (67.0%)

African American Female Participation: 63.9% (62.0%)

African American Teenage Participation: 29.0% (28.9%)

*Previous month in parentheses.

Analysis: African American men see a negligible drop in their unemployment while the women and teenager group see significant upticks in their unemployment rate from the previous month. Men and women subgroups both see an increase in their respective participation groups which is a sign that more African Americans are seeking work. African American men added approximately 100,000 to their labor force and also picked up approximately 100,000 employed which largely explains why the participation rate went up and unemployment rate went down. A rare occurrence. African American women added approximately 300,000 to their labor force but only employed 100,000 which explains both significant increases in both participation and unemployment rate. More women are coming back into the job search but the pace at which they are coming is not being matched by employment. African American teenagers labor force shrank as well as number of employed shrank and their unemployment rate is the third highest in the developed world for youth trailing only Spain and Greece.

Conclusion: African American employment is seeing its highest participation rate of the past 5 months but appears to be stuck in a band and really unable to make any significant traction. We could say the glass is half full and that sideways employment is better than declining employment.  Year over year participation is up for the women but men have seen a significant decrease in their participation rate over that same period. Surprisingly, it is the teenage subgroup participation rate that is carrying African America’s overall participation rate year over year from last October as the teenage subgroup has risen from 24.3% in 2011 to its current 28.9% in 2012. Sentiment is up among African America as the number in the labor force is also at its highest in 5 months but caution should prevail as this is the time of year for seasonal hires as the holiday shopping season kicks off which provide for only temporary economic engagement.

Source: Department of Labor

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