As we’ve reported here a couple of times in the past few weeks, the U.S employment situation is improving with each report. The numbers for black Americans, who have suffered acutely during this Great Recession, has also seen improvement.
The percentage of African Americans with a job has gone from 52.7 percent to 53 percent with the unemployment rate falling to 13.4 percent. Overall, The Root reports, black employment has risen .5 percent over the past year.
However, a shadow cast on all this positive news is that African-American women have made all of the most recent jobs gains.
“Among adults ages 20 and over, all of the gains for African Americans were among women. Although the share of black adult women overall employed rose from 55.1 percent to 55.3 percent, the share of black adult men employed fell from 57.7 percent to 57.5 percent,” the site says.
The story goes on to say that gains are being made across the private sector while the public sector suffers (600,000 jobs have been lost in this area), and for those with a college degree while those with only a high school diploma still struggle.
But, also on a positive note, the percentage of people who quit their job rather than being laid off grew to 7.9 percent and wages are growing, though modestly.
Now that we’re moving into a period where jobs are being created, the middle class needs security and we need to bring everyone at that level and below up a notch.
“The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Economic Mobility Project recently released a report projecting that 68 percent of African-Americans reared in the middle of the wealth ladder will not do as well as the previous generation,” Business Insider reports. The story continues with the National Urban League’s report showing that gains for the black middle class over the past 30 years have been erased by this recession.
“That nest egg is central to the discussion about the middle class. It’s often key to how well a family rebounds after a financial catastrophe, or whether a kid makes it to college,” the article says. That’s where those wealth numbers become important. And they’re scary. Black wealth fell by half between 2005 and 2009 to just $5,677 per average household. For whites, that figure fell just 16 percent… to $113,149. The problem is two-fold: blacks in the middle class have usually been lower middle class, and they got there through the public sector jobs that have been steadily disappearing during this economic downturn. The economy has pushed many black homeowners into a fragile situation with many losing their homes all together.
“Home values and equity are a huge deal because homes accounts for about 60 percent of black wealth,” BI says.
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