The unemployment rate of Black men rose in January, underscoring continued inequality in labor market

The unemployment rate of Black men rose in January, underscoring continued inequality in labor market

A networking and hiring occasion for professionals of shade in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Black men misplaced floor in the workforce final month, marking a continuation of the disparities which have permeated the U.S. labor market.

Black males who have been a minimum of 20 years previous noticed an unemployment rate of 5.3% in January, up from 4.6% in December, in accordance with seasonally adjusted data launched Friday from the U.S. Department of Labor. These staff had the very best unemployment rate when breaking down Black, Hispanic and white staff by gender.

By comparability, white men noticed a jobless rate of simply 3.3% in January, holding regular from December. The total unemployment rate was unchanged from December at 3.7%.

Meanwhile, the Black neighborhood as a complete was the one tracked racial group to see unemployment enhance from December. This underscores the impact of job losses amongst Black men, particularly contemplating the truth that the rate for Black ladies was unchanged between December and January at 4.8%.

Though the uptick in the unemployment rate for Black men is one thing to observe, it may be extra indicative of an anomaly in December’s low information, mentioned Elise Gould, senior economist on the Economic Policy Institute. January’s 5.3% rate comes mainly in line with the typical 2023 month, whereas December’s 4.6% was the bottom stage seen in the yr.

The tight labor market skilled in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic helped shut the hole in work-related alternatives amongst Black and white men, she mentioned. Indeed, the distinction in unemployment charges between Black and white men shrunk to 2 share factors in January from 4.1 share factors in the identical month in 2019.

Growth in the full quantity of employed Black men and the ratio of these with jobs to the full inhabitants in contrast with the beginning of 2023 additionally paints an image of enchancment, she added.

But Gould mentioned the continued inequity in employment and pay highlights the necessity for additional social progress, whereas bolstering the argument {that a} robust labor market alone will not convey equality.

The common white employee age 16 or older had a median weekly pay that was practically 20% larger than their Black counterparts, in accordance with federal data as of the final quarter of 2023. That disparity grew to virtually 25% when male staff alone.

“A greater economic system completely may also help traditionally deprived teams extra as a result of they’re those which can be typically unnoticed and are gradual to recuperate in weaker occasions,” Gould mentioned. “Full employment is certainly kind of a requirement for a lot of traditionally marginalized teams to have the ability to see constructive affect in the labor market, nevertheless it’s not the one factor.”

She pointed to unions as one instance of a constructive drive for Black staff, noting that the wage transparency amongst members may also help shut any racial pay gaps.

‘A canary in the coal mine’

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