Black Unemployment Rate Hits Seven Year Low

African American employment shows signs of slow improvement

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The unemployment rate for black Americans fell below 10 percent in April, for the first time since the economic downfall in 2008.

During the recession, black unemployment had peaked at 16.8 percent in March 2010, while unemployment for whites was almost half that rate. This past April, the unemployment rate for African Americans dipped into the single digits category at 9.6 percent. While the latest data shows signs of improvement, it’s clear that an employment gap still exist between races. Despite the national unemployment rate falling to 5.4 percent, blacks in states like Illinois, Michigan, California and Pennsylvania face unemployment rates above 12 percent.

[Related: U.S. Applications for Unemployment Aid Hit 15-Year Low]

While some reports view education as the reason for the employment gap, data shows that 12.4 percent of black college graduates between the ages of 22 and 27 faced unemployment in 2013 whereas the national unemployment rate for college graduates in the same age range was 5.6 percent. The median weekly paycheck for a white college graduate last year was $1,132, versus $895 for a black college graduate.

With factors such as discrimination and workplace bias coming into play when considering the road to employment for blacks, the latest unemployment numbers are not only signs of progression but also proof that more work needs to be done.

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