By Freddie Allen (NNPA Newswire Managing Editor)
The unemployment rate for Black workers improved from 8.4 percent in July to 8.1 percent in August, according to the latest jobs report from the Labor Department. Even though the Black jobless rate has decreased more than a percentage point since last year (9.4 percent in August 2015), it is still nearly double the White unemployment rate (4.4 percent).
Nationally, the economy added 151,000 jobs in August, but the unemployment rate remained steady at 4.9 percent, the same mark set in July and June.
The labor force participation rate, which measures the share of workers that are employed or looking for jobs, was 61.9 percent for Black workers in August, an increase from 61.2 percent in July and only a slight uptick from the Black labor force rate last year (61.7 percent in August 2015). The participation rate for White workers was 62.9 percent in August, July and June and has only edged up slightly since last August (62.6 percent)
The unemployment rate for White workers was 4.4 percent in August, the same mark set in August 2015, and a slight increase from the 4.3 percent rate recorded in July.
The unemployment rate for Black men over 20 years-old was 7.6 percent in August, an improvement from 8.2 percent in July. The jobless rate for Black women over 20 years-old was 7.1 percent in August, which was a step forward from the 7.3 percent rate a month ago.
The unemployment rate for White men over 20 years-old was 4.1 percent in August, the same as July. The participation rate, which was 72 percent in July showed no improvement. The unemployment rate for White women was 3.9 percent in August slightly higher than the 3.7 percent mark set in July.
The unemployment rate for Hispanic workers was 5.6 percent in August 2016 a step back from the 5.4 percent rate set in July.
According to The Hamilton Project, an economic policy think tank at the Brookings Institution, the economy would need to add 204,000 jobs every month until May 2017 to reach pre-recession employment levels.