Black Unemployment Rate Nearly Cut in Half Under Obama Administration

Healthcare sector is the top employer

(Image: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The Labor Department today reported that the overall unemployment rate in the United States held steady at 4.9% in February, while the unemployment rate for African Americans, stands at 8.8%.

The economy created 242,000 new jobs.

[Related: Female Breadwinners Leading Households and Families More Than Ever]

There is no question that the U.S. economy and the labor market have been on a steady climb since the  jobless rate for African Americans hit a peak of 16.7% in August 2011.  It hasn’t felt that way, however, because wage growth has been basically stagnant during the recovery, falling 0.1% last month, pushing  average hourly earnings down 3 cents to $25.35.

While policymakers grapple over how to deal with the new realities of the workplace, and figure out solutions for lackluster wages, it’s worth focusing on the changes that have taken place in the overall employment picture for blacks since President Obama came to the White House.

“I really did a deep dive into the statistics on black unemployment — not just over the past year or 10 years, but over the past four decades,” says Money Coach and Author Lynnette Khalfani-Cox.

“Historically, the black jobless rate has almost always been about 2 to 3 times what the jobless rate is for whites. But here’s what’s most eye-opening…During President Obama’s 7-year tenure to date, from 2009 through 2015The jobless rate for African Americans fell to a low of 8.3% in December 2015 after [it] hit a peak of 16.7% in August 2011,” she adds.

As for today’s employment report, the healthcare sector continues to be the top job creator, as the industry meets the needs of the aging population, and the manufacturing sector sheds jobs for the first time since September.