Black women have returned as the nation’s strongest performing demographic group in official monthly unemployment figures.
The release of today’s US Bureau of Labor Statistics data reveals that black female unemployment declined for a consecutive month in June, falling 5 per cent from a rate 12.4 per cent in May to 11.8 per cent in June.
While a range of other factors indicate a decline in the pace of the country’s economic recovery efforts, a decrease in unemployment for a consecutive month comes as a boost to last month’s news that unemployment for black women had decreased substantially by 10 per cent.
If this trend were to continue through July, the official of rate of unemployment for black women would move closer to a jobless rate of 11.5 per cent, which was the case this time last year.
But today’s data do come with a solemn reminder of the extent of unemployment in the black community.
Unemployment levels for black men increased slightly from 17.1 per cent in May to 17.4 per cent in June, making black male jobless rates the highest across all major demographic groups.
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Other figures remained flat this month, with unemployment of white Americans rising one percentage point to 8.9 per cent and joblessness in the Hispanic community shifting slightly to end the month of June at 12.4 per cent.
Observers have been critical of this month’s data, claiming that the federal government’s recovery effort is moving too slow.
President Obama touched on the data today, speaking from Andrews Airforce base.
“We are headed in the right direction,” he said. But “we’re not headed there fast enough.”
Private employers this month added 83,000 jobs to the labor market, much less than anticipated.
Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate a reduction in hours in June and a slight decrease to hourly pay rates from $22.55 in May to $22.5 in June.
The Labor Department also delivered bleak news. Their total payroll was down 125,000 following the completion of the Census assignments of 225,000 temporary government workers.
But on a region-by-region basis, labor data show an improvement to the unemployment situation of a majority of metropolitan areas.
On June 30, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released information that shows a decrease in unemployment in 237 of 382 of the country’s major metropolitan areas.
On a national level, the current jobless rate is at 9.5 per cent of the participating workforce.