African America’s May Jobs Report – 8.2%


Overall Unemployment: 4.7% (5.0%)

African America Unemployment: 8.2% (8.8%)

Latino America Unemployment: 5.6% (6.1%)

European America Unemployment: 4.1% (4.3%)

Asian America Unemployment: 4.1% (3.8%)

Previous month in parentheses.

Analysis: Overall unemployment drops 30 basis points. All groups saw a drop in their unemployment rate, except for Asian America who saw a 30 basis point increase. African America led the way with the largest decrease of 60 basis points, followed by Latino America’s 50 basis points, and European America’s 20 basis points.

African American Male Unemployment: 7.6% (9.5%)

African American Female Unemployment: 7.4% (6.9%)

African American Teenage Unemployment: 27.1% (26.0%)

African American Male Participation: 67.1% (68.1%)

African American Female Participation: 61.0% (60.2%)

African American Teenage Participation: 28.7% (29.2%)

Analysis:African American men had a decrease of 190 basis points in their unemployment rate, but also experienced a 100 basis point drop in their participation rate. African American women had an increase of 50 basis points in their unemployment rate, but an 80 basis point increase in their participation rate. African American teenagers had an increase of 110 basis points in their unemployment rate, but experienced a 50 basis point drop.

CONCLUSION: The overall economy added 38 000 jobs in May. Repeat, the United States economy added a net of only 38 000 jobs in May. African America added 122 000 jobs in May, an unprecedented moment where African America job growth outpaced the country. The expected job growth for the overall economy was supposed to be 162 000 jobs. This number may put an absolute halt to the Federal Reserve’s hinted expectation of a rate hike in June or July, which many investors have baked into the market. Since HBCU Money inception of the African American Jobs Report never has African America added more jobs than the overall economy. Now that it has, what exactly might this tell us? It may tell us that since African America has the lowest median income of any group of workers, companies are continuing to a lower-skilled workforce in more and more areas. Despite the additional jobs, this number only gets African America back to where it was five months ago when it began a precipitous job decline trend, this obviously putting an abrupt halt to it. It is hard to imagine a scenario where this remains a forward trend, but we will have to wait to see if this month proves to be an outlier all around or perhaps a pivot for African America’s economy, and for once when others are catching a cold, we do not catch pneumonia.

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