African Americans continued to be hit the hardest by unemployment according to the December Jobs Report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At 15.8 percent the rate showed “little change” and most probably will remain that way for the foreseeable future. No government programs have been announced to specifically target the Black population and reduce this enormous job disparity. The rate is nearly 86% higher than that of whites, whose unemployment fell to 8.5 percent.
Overall, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 556,000 to 14.5 million in December, and the unemployment
rate dropped to 9.4 percent. Over the year, these measures were down from 15.2 million and 9.9 percent, respectively.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (9.4 percent) and whites (8.5 percent) declined in December. The unemployment rates for adult women (8.1 percent), teenagers (25.4 percent), Blacks (15.8 percent), Hispanics (13.0 percent) and Asians was 7.2 percent.
For most economists, the drop in the labor force stuck out as the most arresting detail. “We have now added jobs every single month for a year,” said Heidi Shierholz of the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute. “So you would think that there would be labor force growth, these missing workers starting to come back in. Not only is that not happening, it’s actually starting to go in the other direction. There’s never been a pool of missing workers this large. It’s not clear to me when they’ll come back.”