African America’s May Unemployment Report – 11.6%


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Overall Unemployment: 6.3% (6.3%)

African America Unemployment: 11.5% (11.6%)

Latino America Unemployment: 7.7% (7.3%)

European America Unemployment: 5.4% (5.3%)

Asian America Unemployment: 5.3% (5.7%)

Previous month in parentheses.

Analysis: The overall unemployment rate remained unchanged. Group increases and decreases were evenly split. African and Asian America saw drops of 10 and 40 basis points, respectively. European and Latino America saw increases of 10 and 40 basis points, respectively. African America remains the only group with a double digit unemployment rate.

African American Male Unemployment: 11.5% (10.8%)

African American Female Unemployment: 10.0% (10.4%)

African American Teenage Unemployment: 31.1% (36.8%)

African American Male Participation: 66.8% (66.4%)

African American Female Participation: 61.2% (61.7%)

African American Teenage Participation: 27.8% (27.9%)

Previous month in parentheses.

Analysis: African American males saw an increase of 70 basis points in their unemployment rate, but also saw an increase in their participation rate of 40 basis points. African American females saw a decline of 40 basis points in their unemployment rate, but also saw a decline of 50 basis points in their participation rate. African American teenagers saw an unprecedented drop of 570 basis points in their unemployment rate and essentially held steady their participation rate.

Conclusion: The overall economy added 217 000 jobs in the month of May. After a stellar past few months of job growth in African America, momentum slowed to a halt in May with only 8 000 jobs added in the month of May. The participation rate dropped 10 basis points, but essentially has not moved out of its 5 month band meaning actual employment numbers even with the appearance of jobs being added are dead in the water. African American women’s sudden drop in participation rate is alarming and unexpected. The backbone of African America’s fragile economy given their propensity to be head of household and/or breadwinner means sudden shifts in their employment state has immediate impacts on families and communities. African American teenagers actually showed real inroads to their employment crisis picking up 38 000 jobs and holding their labor force numbers steady which prompted an acute drop in their unemployment rate and substantive increase in their participation rate. Despite this shining beacon of success the overall African American employment situation is stagnant. African America’s current labor force would need to add 300 000 jobs in one month to get the unemployment rate to 9.9 percent.

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