The unemployment rate for African Americans in March fell to the lowest ever recorded in U.S. history.
According to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Black unemployment rate is at 5%, plunging more than half of a percentage point from the rate recorded in February.
The Black unemployment rate fell from 5.7% in February, a month that saw an uptick of 0.3% in Black joblessness from January. Generally, the Black unemployment rate this year has hovered between 5.7% and more than 6%.
A closer look at March’s jobs report showed other major gains for the Black workforce.
Aside from the unemployment rate for Black men 20 years and older creeping up slightly by 0.1%, Black women’s joblessness rate along with that of Black teens both fell significantly.
The unemployment rate for Black women last is 4.2%, plunging from 5.1% in February, also a record low.
In addition, not only did Black teens see their unemployment rate fall nearly 6 percentage points, from 20.4% to 14.5%.
The jobs report also revealed that “the share of Black workers holding a job exceeds the share for white workers holding a job for the first time,” William E. Spriggs, the chief economist for AFL-CIO and a professor of economics at Howard University, tweeted Friday morning.
An estimated 236,000 jobs were added in March, with the “leisure and hospitality, government, professional and business services, and health care” business sectors receiving the bulk of them, according to BLS.
While March’s numbers show the lowest Black unemployment rate on record, the overall state of Black unemployment has remained a far cry from the joblessness experienced by people from other racial backgrounds.
In comparison, the white unemployment rate in March was 3.2%; for Asians was 2.8%; and for Hispanics was 4.6%.
Not for nothing, the 5% Black unemployment rate last month shatters that for which former President Donald Trump previously and readily took credit in 2019.
Back then, Trump boasted of an unemployment rate for African Americans that was nearly a full 2 percentage points more than the rate recorded in March.
“The best numbers that we’ve ever had: African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, Women, everything. We have the best numbers that we’ve had in many, many, many decades,” Trump told reporters in October 2019 about the unemployment rates for the month prior.
At that pre-pandemic point, Black unemployment sat at 6.6%.
The truth is, Black unemployment rates have been steadily climbing over the last decade. Of course, the pandemic certainly exacerbated those stark numbers, but the problem has been prevalent in the community for a while now.
According to a report by the Centers For American Progress, between January 1972 and December 2019, the African American unemployment rate was “twice as high” compared to the rate for white people. The rate briefly dropped during 2008’s Great Recession, but the numbers did not show a significant enough improvement in the years that followed.
Between January 1972 and December 2019, it never reached as low as 1 1/2 times the white rate, the report noted.
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