Yikes! Experts Estimate One 1 Of 5 Blacks Were Unemployed At Some Point In 2013

January 16, 2014  |  

The official unemployment rate for 2013 was 7.4 percent. But this figure is only a calculation of the average unemployment rate per month. Looking at the bigger picture, experts estimate that 12.7 percent of the workforce was unemployed at some point during the year. The numbers for African Americans, according to Economic Policy Institute (EPI), were even bleaker.

The EPI dismisses the official unemployment rate — it “understates the number of people who are unemployed at some point over a longer period.” By just looking the average unemployment rate per month, workers who were employed in one month and discharged the next — for example — slip under the radar.

So analyzing the share of employees who were out-of-a-job at some point during 2013, researchers discovered that one out of every eight workers was unemployed. Among Africa -Americans, this figure bloats to one in five.

The official unemployment rate for Black Americans in 2013 was 13.1 percent. “This is far higher than the highest overall annual unemployment rate over the last 70 years,” the researchers write. But again, this figure only looks at the average monthly unemployment rate. Analyzing the share of African Americans who were unemployed at some point this year, the number is a staggering 20 percent.

While the experts at EPI foresee an improvement for the over-the-year employment rate for African-Americans in 2014, it’s still relatively high at 17.4 percent.

“The labor market is improving extremely slowly for all major groups, but the employment situation of African Americans remains at something more akin to depression-level conditions,” EPI concludes.

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