Reported by Evette D. Champion
For the first time since the economic crash in 2008, the unemployment rate for black Americans is below 10 percent.
In March of 2010, the unemployment rate for the black community peaked at 16.8 percent, while the rate of unemployment for whites was almost half that. This past April, the rate of unemployment for African Americans reached the single digits with 9.6 percent. Although the number is still relatively high, the latest data show that there is improvement. Even though the national unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent, blacks who live in Michigan, Illinois, California and Pennsylvania still see unemployment rates that reach over 12 percent.
The recent data from the Labor Department shows that the number of Americans who sought unemployment benefits fell to a 15-year low. This means that employers are keeping their employees, rather than laying them off.
Seasonally adjusted first-time claims were 262,000 for the week, down 34,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday, according to USA Today. Because applications for unemployment signal layoffs, the sharp decline in numbers show that employers are confident in the economy. The reduction in layoffs also indicates that the current slow economic growth may be temporary.
Be that as it may, the unemployment rates for African Americans are still higher than other ethnicities in the nation. Data shows that 12.4 percent of African American college graduates between 22 and 27 years old were unemployed compared to the national unemployment rate for white college students — whose unemployment rate was at a steady 5.6 percent — in the same age bracket. There is also a substantial difference in the median weekly paycheck between the races. A white college grad earned $1,132 while a black college grad earned $895.
Because factors like discrimination and bias in the workplace are prevalent, black college students must strongly consider entrepreneurship as a viable path to financial success. While the dip in unemployment rates for the nation is low, and the number of African Americans that are unemployed are significantly less than it was a year ago, there is still much to be done about the economy and employment for the American population.