Black unemployment falls to second-lowest on record
The black unemployment rate fell in August to the second-lowest on record as the labor market continues to show signs of tightening.
In August, the black unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, continuing the rapid descent from the 16.8% peak shortly after the recession, and the lowest ever after the 5.9% rate in May.
The continued economic expansion, now showing up in rising wages, has helped all racial groups, data show. Donald Trump has frequently pointed out the black unemployment rate reached a record low during his presidency.
That said, the black unemployment rate is still higher than the 4.7% Hispanic unemployment rate — also the second-lowest on record — and the 3.4% unemployment rate for whites and the 3% jobless rate for Asian-Americans.
A Federal Reserve paper last year on the topic found that observable characteristics — age, education, marital status and state of residence — could not explain the black-white gap in employment, whereas it largely did for the Hispanic-white gap.
Factors that could explain the gap include personal or institutional discrimination as well as incarceration rates, the Fed paper said.
“The robust recovery of the labor market in the last few years appears to have contributed significantly to reducing the economic disparities that had widened dramatically as a result of the Great Recession. That said, the disparities remain substantial,” the paper concluded.
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