Blacks Still Shoulder Weight of High Unemployment

WASHINGTON – Despite reports of a rebounding economy, joblessness among Africa Americans – like gas prices — have continued to dip, then escalate.

According to the latest U. S. Labor Department findings, as of February 2012 the unemployment rate for blacks hovered at 14.1 percent compared to 13.6 for January, and 15.8 percent the month before.

With more 200,000 jobs created last month by the economy, the fluctuations  — which likewise impacted Latino workers — have been difficult to explain.

The jobless rate among black teens also increased to 17 percent in February – and overall, the statistics indicate there probably won’t be much change for blacks or Latino job seekers as the year progresses.

Bill Rodgers a Rutgers University economist who studies racial inequities, said in an interview that the labor department’s unemployment data exemplifies a sausage-like quality. He added that it’s better to consider unemployment trends over 12-month periods.

According to Rodgers, the black employment outlook is mixed.

Black men appear to have gained jobs since February 2011 in manufacturing, construction and the service sector. And while government employment held steady this month, deep staff cuts in state and local government have hit black women particularly hard. Indeed, government agencies, a sector that has slashed about 500,000 jobs since February 2010, employed just over one-quarter of black women before the recession began. That has caused the number of black women with jobs to fall, although that number held steady in February, Rodgers was attributed to saying in the recent Huffington Post interview.

___

Special to the NNPA from the Washington Informer