Black Men Yet To See Employment Gains From Improving Economy

An improving economy has resulted in a lower national unemployment rate, but that progress has yet to translate into more jobs for African-American men, according the latest statistics from the Department of Labor.

The economy added 114,000 jobs in September, while also adding an upward revision of 86,000 jobs to July and August. The private sector has added jobs for 31 consecutive months, much to the political delight of President Barack Obama, who came into office with the country mired in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

However, the numbers also revealed that, among adults ages 20 and over, all of the gains for African-Americans were among women. Although the percentage of black adult women overall employed rose from 55.1 percent to 55.3 percent, the share of black adult men employed fell from 57.7 percent to 57.5 percent. Both adult men and women, however, have seen their employment rate rise over the past year 0.5 percentage points.

The economy has created more than a million jobs over his first term, sending the unemployment rate to its lowest mark in 44 months at 7.8 percent in September.

Meanwhile, the percentage of overall African-Americans with a job edged up from 52.7 percent to 53.0 percent, while the unemployment rate fell to 13.4 percent after hovering just above 14 percent for the past three months.

The economy began hemorrhaging jobs in 2008, and was, by the winter of 2008-2009, shedding more than 20,000 jobs per day, more than at any point since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tabulating these data in 1948.

The Obama-sponsored American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 led to a rapid reversal in the number of layoffs, and starting in March 2010, the economy saw jobs being added each month.

With jobs and the economy atop the list of issues voters care most about, the improved employment news figures to be a hot topic on the campaign trail.

Back to top