Jobless Rate for Black Women Jumps In Latest Unemployment Report

March 9, 2015  |  

A tinge of optimism swept the nation as the latest jobs numbers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, revealed an added 295,000 jobs in February. The economy seems to be lookin’ up — well, for most people. For Black women, according to RH Reality Check, it’s a whole different story.

Overall, at 5.5 percent, the jobless rate is the lowest it’s been in seven years. The White unemployment rate dropped from 5.3 percent to 5.1 percent, while Blacks saw their joblessness figure drop from 10.7 percent to 10.4 percent, according to The Grio. But when we zoom in on women of color, the unemployment rate took an unfavorable climb from 8.7 percent to 8.9 percent.

In December, the joblessness rate for Black women was at a much lower 8.2 percent. Speaking on the spike, Joan Entmacher, the National Women’s Law Center’s Vice President for Family Economic Security, said:

“…The unemployment rate for Black women rose for the second month in a row. Lawmakers need to approve a federal budget that invests in education, job training, health care and infrastructure to promote widely shared prosperity—not one with damaging cuts to vital programs and more tax breaks for corporations and the wealthiest individuals.” 

The National Women’s Law Center adds that even though the unemployment rate for women overall dropped down to 4.9 from 5.1, 40 percent of these job gains sprouted from low wage sectors — this includes the leisure/hospitality and retail industries.

International Business Times points out that Black women are typically employed in these low wage sectors, which contributes to their plight in the job market. “The service sector is more precarious and unstable than other sectors and the recession has caused government agencies on the local, state and federal level to shrink their payrolls,” IBT said.

Entmatcher, according to The Huffington Post, compared the employment rates of Black women with Bachelor’s degrees to other groups with the same academic strata and found that education level is not the issue. “There’s something else going on here,” she said. “There is just a continuing problem of discrimination in the work place,” she told NBC News.

In 2013, Black women with an associate’s degree posted an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent; White men with no college education at all currently have an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent.

The Grio said it best:”In America, all women and men are created equal, or so we are told. But that does not mean they are treated as such. Systemic racism and economic inequality remain at crisis levels in the U.S., and that is the heart of the problem.”


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