The Black unemployment rate last month was nearly twice the national average and more than double the unemployment rate for Whites, according to jobs figures released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The statistics show the unemployment rate for Blacks at 10.2 percent in May, up from 9.6 percent in April, which represented the first time since 2008 that the number had fallen below 10 percent, Fusion reports.
The unemployment rate for Whites has been at 4.7 percent since February, and the national rate of unemployment in May was 5.5 percent, writes the news outlet.
The problem for the Black community is the loss of state and local government jobs over the past six years, especially post-recession, notes the Center for American Progress:
“Budget cuts have reduced the number of teachers, bus drivers, firefighters, and police officers, among others,” said CAP economist Michael Madowitz in a statement. “This news is particularly troubling for communities of color, given that African-Americans are overrepresented in public sector jobs.”
Further, Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, tells Fusion that the labor market could be stronger, which is needed to promote job growth.
“While this is an encouraging report, the evidence continues to point to the fact that the Federal Reserve should not even start a conversation about raising interest rates until 2016,” she said in a statement. “Even though job growth was solid, it needs to be sustained over a longer period of time in order to significantly tighten the labor market to the point where we finally see significant wage growth.”
Fusion says the economy added 280,000 jobs, and the labor force participation rate was up slightly. Average hourly earnings climbed 2.3 percent from last May, the fastest growth since the summer of 2013. The unemployment rates for 25-34 year-olds was unchanged from April at 5.8 percent.