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Economists Hail September Jobs Report Despite Black Unemployment Rising

Weekly Unemployment Claims Rise Higher Than Expected

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Economists welcomed the September jobs report with open arms on Friday morning after the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the nation added 336,000 jobs last month, a number that more than doubles what was predicted. It was the year’s biggest month of job gains since January.

But a closer look at the jobs report for September showed every group’s unemployment rates either holding steady or falling except for Black workers, who appear to be missing out on the whopping number of jobs being created, or at least those that were created last month.

“We’re seeing resilient job creation,” Ernst & Young senior economist Lydia Boussour said per Yahoo Finance.

“This is an economy on fire,” Samuel Rines, an economist and the managing director of Corbu, told the New York Times.

“This is a pivotal moment for the labor market,” Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, told the Washington Post in response to September’s jobs report. “There’s the sense that these very restrictive interest rates are holding back activity, such that we’re seeing a fairly rapid descent in job growth.”

To be sure, the national unemployment rate stood unchanged from August at 3.8%.

But when broken down along racial lines, Black workers were the only ones whose unemployment rate rose in September.

The Black unemployment rate was up .04% in September compared to the 5.3% rate in August — a modest rise to be sure, but a rise nonetheless. Meanwhile, the unemployment rates for white people and Asians both fell.

The September jobs report was a far cry from April’s when Black unemployment plunged to a historic rate of 4.7%, the first time it had ever dipped below the 5% mark.


Fast-forward five months and the unemployment rates for Black men and teens were also on the rise. Black women, conversely, saw their unemployment rate drop slightly by two-tenths of a percentage point to land at 4.5% in September.

Getting the Black unemployment rate under control has been a long time coming.

Prior to the pandemic, the Black unemployment rate was at 5.3%, which at the time was a historic low. But once the coronavirus struck, the Black unemployment rate ballooned to more than 16% in morbid jobs statistics inherited by President Joe Biden after the 2020 election.

There had been a steady decline in Black unemployment since it was at 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%.


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