New U.S. Labor Department?s unemployment data obscure the high unemployment rate among Blacks. Last week the department released figures showing that companies reduced their payrolls by a net total of 190,000 jobs in October, less than the downwardly revised 219,000 lost in September. At the same time, the national unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent in October from 9.8 percent in September, the department reported, the first time since 1983 that the rate has passed 10 percent. The market had expected a 9.9 percent unemployment rate for October.
Hidden in this and earlier reports is the fact that the unemployment rate among African-Americans has been hovering around 15.5 percent for nearly a year now, climbing from 13 percent in February. Now, some analysts say the national jobless rate could climb as high as 10.5 percent next year because employers remain reluctant to hire. That?s bad news for young Black men, many of whom already are no longer looking for jobs they can?t seem to find.
The last time the African-American monthly unemployment rate was so high was in February 1994, as the nation was digging out of a recession. Government data indicate that the African-American unemployment rate has traditionally far exceeded that of other ethnic groups, especially whites whose joblessness is normally half that of African-Americans. The disparity in unemployment rates between whites and Blacks was already there, but it grew much wider since the recession started in December 2007, economists say. A jobless recovery certainly won?t make the situation any better.