The unemployment rate for African Americans was 14.9 percent, a slight decrease from April. But as my friend Sophia Nelson notes, “black unemployment is always higher no matter what and for black males it is over 40% in some cities like NYC.”
Indeed, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, chair of the Joint Economic Committee, released this statement in reaction to the employment situation for African Americans:
The economy shed jobs at nearly half the pace of the past six months, which is an encouraging sign that the worst may be behind us. We are starting to see indications of economic progress as the recovery package begins to take hold across the country. But the rising unemployment rate in the African American community is a sobering reminder that we still have a long way to go to put people back to work and help families regain economic security.
Some quick facts from the May Jobs Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- The unemployment rate for African American workers is now at 14.9 percent, up 6.0 percentage points from the start of the recession in December 2007.
- The share of African Americans with a job has dropped 4.2 percentage points over the recession to 53.6 percent. The last time the employment to population ratio for African Americans was this low was August 1986.
- The unemployment rate for African American males 20 and over is 16.8 percent, 8.6 percentage points higher than at the start of the recession. This means that 1 in 6 African American men, age 20 or over, is unemployed and actively searching for work. African American men are more likely to be unemployed for a longer period of time. The median duration of unemployment for African American men is 19.8 weeks, much higher than the median duration of 15.0 weeks for white men.
- The unemployment rate for African American women age 20 and over has risen 4.1 percentage points since the start of the recession to 11.2 percent.
- Unemployment among minority teens is especially high–2 in 5 African American teens are unemployed, along with 1 in 3 Hispanic teens. That compares with 1 in 5 for white teens.
Still, Vice President Joe Biden sees “signs of hope.” In remarks on the economy, Biden observed:
But there’s also some signs of hope today in the report, and a few signs that our actions to get this economy back on track are beginning to make some difference.
Biden went on:
And I’m pleased that today’s report shows some signs -- some signs that all this activity is having this desired impact…And so there is some direct signs that what we’re doing is having an impact.
OK, Joe, if you say so.