Black Women Left Behind in Employment Growth

Black female unemployment rate remains stagnant

black unemployment

Image: File

According to an analysis done by the National Women’s Law Center, African American women are the only demographic to see no decrease in unemployment rates.

Between August 2013 and August 2014, the overall unemployment rate dipped from 7.2% to 6.1%. Each demographic saw a decline in unemployment, except that of black women.

According to NWLC findings, the unemployment rate for black women has remained stagnant for the past year at 10.6%. Joan Entmacher, vice president for Family Economic Security, calls the lack of improvement a red flag in today’s employment landscape, and challenges lawmakers to make a stronger and more widely shared recovery.

While the causes of the stagnant unemployment rate for black women is still being studied, Entmacher tells the Huffington Post that the problem is not a lack of education. NWLC did a comparison of all adults with bachelor’s degrees, and black women came out on top with the highest unemployment rate despite having equal education.

Entmacher says that one possible factor is that a disproportionate number of black women are employed in the public sector, which is experiencing a much slower job recovery than the private sector because of budget cuts.

“Public sector jobs are slow to recover because public policy has been to cut or freeze funding for all levels of government over the past few years,” says Entmacher.

Hopefully analysis like this, that call out disproportionate employment rates for African Americans in the job market, will persuade lawmakers to take a stronger stand to close the gap in job opportunities.




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