The NAACP called on U.S. employers Friday to increase minority hiring after new national unemployment figures reflected a decline for Whites, but showed little-to-no change for Black workers.
The unemployment rate for Whites declined to 4.8 percent in October, compared to 5.1 percent in September, while the rate for Black workers edged down to 10.9 percent, compared to 11 percent a month earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the U.S. Department of Labor. The rate for Hispanics fell to 6.8 percent from 6.9 percent.
“As we watch this recovery unfold, it has become clear that our job market reflects great economic inequality,” the group said in a statement sent to NewsOne that called on employers to improve jobs and wages for all Americans.
“The occupations seeing wage increases are primarily higher income and dominated by highly educated and skilled workers who are disproportionately White,” Dedrick Asante Muhammad, senior director of the NAACP Economic Department, said in the prepared statement.
The problem facing Black workers Muhammad says is that minorities have shifted from the decimated public and manufacturing workforce to an overwhelming representation in retail occupations, such as customer service, administrative support, waste removal, and security. He says employers in those sectors are under little pressure to raise wages because they are rarely covered by collective bargaining agreements and are easy to automate.
“Middle- and- lower-income workers have yet to see a recovery in their paychecks,” Muhammad said. “They cannot spend enough to drive further growth in jobs, save for retirement, or lower the pressure on public services, such as SNAP and public housing.”
Overall, the national unemployment numbers reflected a downward trend as the rate fell to about 5.8 percent. The total number of non-working Americans fell to 9 million, or 1.2 million fewer than at the beginning of the year.