By Norm Bond
The Labor Department said Friday that employment increased in professional and business services, retail trade, and health care, but declined in transportation and warehousing. In addition non-farm payrolls rose by 115,000 last month. This was 50,000 lower than the anticipated estimate of about 165,000.
What about the all important unemployment number? Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.5 percent), adult women (7.4 percent), teenagers (24.9 percent), whites (7.4 percent), Asians (5.2 percent) and Hispanics (10.3 percent) showed little or no change in April, while the rate for Blacks (13.0 percent) declined over the month. The overall jobless rate increased a notch to 8.1 percent from 8.2 percent, as more people left the work force.
The jobless numbers show a continued state of sobering statistics. President Obama stated several years ago that America would be experiencing a “jobless recovery”. So if you’ve been following the economic reports at all over the past couple of years, the April report should not be viewed as a surprise. Warren Buffet predicts that America is still several years away from creating enough jobs and home construction levels will play a vital role if this is to happen. See his video below.
Can those of us in Black America wait another several years – or should we start doing something right now? We already know that even when the US unemployment rate is “normal” African American unemployment can be anywhere from two to five times higher (depending on whose stats you wanted to believe). The April jobs report also demonstrates that the “long-term unemployed” (jobless for 27 weeks) is now at 5.1 million, representing 41.4 percent of the unemployed. It’s changed very little.
In addition, there are millions of people who are hanging on the fringes of the economy, defined as “marginally attached” to the labor force. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Of the 2.4 million persons in this category in April, nearly a million (968,000) are further defined as “discouraged workers”. These folks are not currently looking for work – because they believe there are no jobs available for them.
The old adage says, “There are lies. Damn lies. And then there are statistics“. So as we move into full-blown presidential campaign mode, we’ll see all sides putting their best spin forward.
How are you feeling about the April report? Let us know below.