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Jobless rate for Black men jumps

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from

On May 12, 2016

( – April’s unemployment rate for Black men age 20 and up jumped to 9.5 percent from 8.7 percent in March, but the reasons for the bad news on the jobs’ front were unclear.

Black men’s labor-participation rate was 68.1 percent in April compared to 67.2 percent in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The labor-force participation rate is the percentage of the population that is either employed or unemployed.

BLS reported that 858,000 Black men were unemployed in April compared to 768,000 in March. A person is considered unemployed if he is scanning websites for job openings.

Black men continue to suffer from the nation’s highest jobless rate compared with men in other racial and ethnic groups.

The unemployment rate for White men 20 years and older was 4.0 percent, and the jobless rate for Hispanics was 5.0 percent. BLS reported that the Asian unemployment rate was 3.8 percent but it is not clear if that figure applies only to men 20 and over.

The jobless rate for Blacks overall moved in the opposite direction when compared to Black men. The unemployment rate for Black people in April was 8.8 percent compared to 9.0 percent in March. Some 1.7 million African Americans were unemployed in April compared to 1.8 million in March.

The jobless rate for Black women 20 years old and older was 6.9 percent in April, down from 8.0 percent in March.  Some 665,000 Black women were unemployed in April, down from 792,000 in March.

The nation’s overall unemployment rate stayed at 5.0 percent as U.S. non-farm businesses added 160,000 jobs in April. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care and financial services.

The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, called the payroll report disappointing. EPI noted that as the country reaches full employment, job growth is expected to slow down, but the nation is not close enough to full employment to view the slow down as a positive move. In the first quarter of 2016, job growth averaged 203,000 and in the last quarter of 2015, job growth averaged 282,000.

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