Black unemployment rate dips, labor force participation rises in January

Near the Hallandale Winn Dixie Supermarket entrance, a sign advertising Now Hiring hangs. It was placed on September 21, 2021.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Some signs of hope for U.S. labor recoveries were seen in January’s jobs report, especially for Black workers, who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

U.S. payrolls have been increased 467,000 jobs in the first month of the new yearAccording to Friday’s Labor Department report, economists had not expected Covid-omicron outbreaks would have an effect on employment. The January unemployment rate was 4%, compared to 3.9% for December.

Black workers’ unemployment rates fell to 6.9% in January from 7.1%. What’s more, the Black labor force participation rate rose to 62% in January — the same as white workers.

Bradley Hardy of Georgetown University, said that “we’ve witnessed this really encouraging closing the Black-white labour participation gap and it appears to has fully converged.” This is a direct result of Black labor participation rates rising slowly over the almost two-year period that was engulfed by this pandemic.

Hardy explained that the rate of labor force participation “can sometimestimes serve as a proxy for optimism, and willingness to join in on the labor market.” “The fact that that’s actually a gap that is — for now, at least — closed is quite important.”

Black women were most affected by the improvement in unemployment. Their unemployment rate dropped to 5.8%, from 6.2%.

Black women saw their unemployment rates drop by 5% in January. This is after Black women had been the only race/gender group to experience this. unemployment rate worsened in December.

According to Elise Gould (senior economist, Economic Policy Institute), the month-to-month readings of Black women and minorities can be volatile because there is a smaller population.

Gould explained that the longer-term picture is that Black workers continue to experience a unemployment rate twice as high than white workers. Also, white workers’ unemployment rates are far lower then Black workers have ever seen. In January, the white unemployment rate stood at 3.4%.

Hardy suggested that you look at the data for a minimum of 2 to 3 months.

“It is prudent optimism that…the trend is still heading in the right directions. Hardy expressed his joy at the good news. “But, at the same moment, we must be vigilant in how we interpret this trend.”

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