Massachusetts reported the lowest black unemployment rate, D.C. and Illinois the highest
by Frederick H. Lowe
The jobless rate for black workers remained flat or higher in October compared with September even though the nation’s nonfarm businesses added 271,000 jobs, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.
The country’s overall jobless rate was essentially 5%, but for black workers it was a different story. The overall unemployment rate was 9.2%, the same as September, BLS reported.
The unemployment rate for black men 20 years old and older was 9.2 %, up from 8.9% in September. The jobless rate in October for black women 20 years old and older was 8.1%, up from 8.0%.
Nationally, African Americans had the highest unemployment rate at 9.2%, followed by Latinos (6.4%) whites (4.4%) and Asians (3.6%), according to the Economic Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C.
In 2015’s third quarter, the African-American unemployment rate was lowest in Massachusetts at 5.7%. “However, Massachusetts’ exceptionally low black unemployment rate may actually underestimate joblessness in the state. The Massachusetts labor force shrank by 1.8% between June and September 2015, suggesting that the lower unemployment rates may result from job seekers giving up their job rather than actually finding a job,” EPI reported.
The next lowest unemployment rate was in Texas (7.1% ) while the rate was highest in the District of Columbia (13.6%) and Illinois (13.3%). Fifteen states had African-American unemployment rates below 10% in the third quarter of 2015—four more states than in the second quarter.
The African-American unemployment rate is at or below its pre-recession level in Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas. The black unemployment rate is within 0.5 percentage points of its pre-recession level in Missouri, New York, and South Carolina, EPI reported.
Overall, South Dakota had the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at 1.9%.
Job gains occurred in professional and business service, health care, retail trade, food services and bars.