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Black women have emerged triumphant in May’s official unemployment data, with a decrease of 10 per cent in unemployment from 13.7 per cent in April to 12.4 per cent in May.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics positioned black women as the strongest performing demographic in the decline of unemployment across race and gender categories.

There was no change to the rate of unemployment of white women, which might suggest a reduction to the large unemployment gap between black and white women.

However, since February  the unemployment rate of white women has decreased one percentage point to 7.4 per cent, while that of black women has fluctuated around a rate of 13 per cent. This represents a difference of approximately 65 per cent.

Additional data compared across the twelve months from May 2009 to May 2010 indicate that the amount of black women in employment fell almost 1 percentage point from 56.5 to 55.6.

Education was also a factor in last month’s data, as unemployment levels for those without a high school diploma remained three times higher than those who had graduated.

The 52 per cent gap between the unemployment rates of black and white teenagers however remained largely unchanged.

White teenagers suffer an unemployment rate of 24.4 per cent, while 37.3 per cent of black teenagers are currently without work.

US economic data has been positive in recent times. A survey by Manpower Inc. suggested that of the 18,000 employer participants, 18 per cent were considering increasing their staff in the third quarter.

Some areas of the country however are particularly unfavourable for black workers.

Economic Policy Institute, based in Washington, released a study Tuesday highlighting total black unemployment rates of 20.9 per cent, 20.4 per cent and 13.3 for Detroit, Minneapolis and St. Louis respectively.


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