By Frederick H. Lowe
WASHINGTON–The unemployment rate for black men 20 years old and older improved in April compared with March as U.S. businesses added 211,000 jobs, reducing the nation’s overall jobless rate to 4.4 percent, a 10-year low.
The jobless rate for black men in April was 7.3 percent, down from 8.2 percent in March, the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics reported Friday. April 2017’s jobless rate for black men is a dramatic improvement compared to the same month a year ago when it was 9.0 percent, BLS reported. Nonetheless, black men continue to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to jobs.
Their jobless rate compares to 3.4 percent for white men in the same age group and 4.2 percent for Hispanic men. There is not a specific breakout for Asian men 20 and older. At 3.2 percent, Asians overall have the lowest unemployment rate among racial and ethnic groups.
Part of the reason the jobless rate improved for the black men in April is that more of them are looking for work compared with March. The labor-participation rate edged up to 63.3 percent in April compared to 62.6 percent in March.
However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently reported that unemployment causes a higher health risk for blacks compared to whites but the CDC didn’t explain why or how it posed a higher health risk for blacks.
Despite the low overall unemployment rate, 7.1 million people are unemployed. The number of long-term jobless — out-of-wor 27 weeks or more — was 1.6 million, accounting for 22.6 percent of the unemployed.
Job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, financial activities and mining.