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Black unemployment rate hits a record low

The black unemployment rate fell to 5.9% in May - the lowest since the government started keeping track in 1972....

Posted: Jun 1, 2018 5:22 PM
Updated: Jun 1, 2018 5:22 PM

The black unemployment rate fell to 5.9% in May - the lowest since the government started keeping track in 1972.

It's a notoriously volatile number, but the trend is clear: This economy is strong, and everyone is reaping the rewards.

"The jobs market is firing on all pistons. It is benefiting all workers," said Tony Bedikian, head of global markets at Citizens Bank. "There are more jobs to be had for all Americans."

As the overall unemployment rate continues to fall - the lowest since 2000 - it's also shrinking the gap between black and white unemployment. It is the narrowest on record.

Black unemployment dropped sharply last month, down from 6.6% in April. The gap between black and white unemployment shrank to 2.4 percentage points, the first time on record it's been less than 3 points.

The figures were part of a jobs report Friday that showed overall unemployment at 3.8%. That was a clear sign that the economy is strong - and that there are opportunities for just about everyone.

Unemployment for black Americans remains stubbornly higher than for white, Asian and Hispanic Americans. The unemployment rate is just 2.1% for Asian-Americans and 4.9% for people of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.

Jobs data for black Americans also tends to be statistically more volatile than for white Americans because of a smaller population size. Still, the unemployment trends for black Americans are undeniably improving.

Black unemployment has fallen faster than white unemployment in the past year. A year ago, the black unemployment rate was 7.6%. For white Americans, unemployment has dropped from 3.7% a year ago to 3.5% in May.

"There is nothing not to like about this jobs report. It was strong across the board," said Hank Smith, co-chief investment officer at Haverford Trust.

The black unemployment rate hit a post-Great Recession peak of 16.8% in March 2010. (The highest on record was 21.2% in January 1983.)

Since then, unemployment has dropped steadily for all Americans.

Related: Unemployment rate matches lowest point in half a century

It's still harder for young black Americans, and black men specifically, to find work.

The unemployment rate for black teens is 19.8%. Although that's down from 26.5% a year ago, it's still substantially higher than the 11.6% unemployment rate for white teens.

And the unemployment rate for black men over the age of 20 is 6.3%, compared with just 4.7% for black adult women and 3.2% for white men over the age of 20.

So black unemployment is going in the right direction. But there's a long way to go before the job market is equally good for black and white.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 48626

Reported Deaths: 2717
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11723689
Lake5212244
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Cass16399
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Johnson1288117
Porter73637
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Parke230
Ohio170
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Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 58904

Reported Deaths: 2970
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10587431
Cuyahoga8048379
Hamilton6158204
Lucas2788303
Marion273439
Pickaway220141
Summit2175207
Montgomery213431
Mahoning1849238
Butler163747
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Medina53632
Lake50819
Licking49612
Miami47231
Portage44959
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Wood43651
Clermont4226
Geauga40843
Wayne36352
Richland3475
Allen32341
Mercer2879
Greene2769
Darke25326
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Crawford1365
Washington13520
Ross1303
Putnam12915
Coshocton1272
Hardin12312
Morrow1171
Auglaize1074
Jefferson912
Monroe8917
Union891
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Hancock791
Hocking788
Preble781
Guernsey743
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Williams722
Shelby694
Clinton680
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Fulton620
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Carroll593
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Brown581
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Perry351
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Morgan110
Noble110
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