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Job prospects flat for Black workers in March

Freddie Allen (NNPA Newswire Managing Editor) | 4/17/2017, 11:33 a.m.
The employment prospects for African Americans showed little improvement in March, according to the Labor Department’s most recent jobs report.
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The employment prospects for African Americans showed little improvement in March, according to the Labor Department’s most recent jobs report.

The labor force participation rate, which is the share of Blacks who either hold jobs or are looking for work, remained unchanged from February (62.3 percent) to March. The share of Blacks who have jobs within the population (employment-population ratio or E-POP) was also flat (57.3 percent). The Black unemployment rate improved slightly, decreasing from 8.1 percent to 8 percent in March.

Meanwhile, the key labor market indicators for White workers continued to improve under the Trump Administration. The labor force participation rate for White workers ticked up from 62.9 percent in February to 63 percent in March and the E-POP increased from 60.3 percent to 60.5 percent last month. The unemployment rate for White workers also improved, dipping below 4 percent in March.

The labor force participation rate for Black men over 20 years-old climbed up a few rungs from 67.8 percent in February to 68.1 percent in March and the E-POP ticked up from 62.5 percent to 62.6 percent. The jobless rate increased from 7.8 percent to 8.2 percent in March, which may occur when workers are optimistic about their prospects.

The labor force rate for White men over 20 years-old decreased from 72 percent to 71.9 percent in March. The E-POP also declined from 69.3 percent in 69.2 percent. The unemployment rate improved from 4.1 percent to 3.9 percent, but this was most likely the result of White men leaving the labor market in March.

The labor force rate for Black women over 20 years-old was the same 62.7 percent in March that it was in February. The employment-population ratio increased from 58.3 to 58.6 percent in March. The jobless rate for Black women fell from 7.1 percent to 6.6 percent in March.

The labor force rate for White women over 20 years-old rose from 57.6 percent to 57.8 percent in March. The E-POP also increased from 55.5 percent to 55.7 percent in March. The unemployment rate for White women fell from 3.7 percent to 3.5 percent in March indicating that White women entered the labor market and found jobs at higher rates in March compared to February.

The national unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in March and the economy added 98,000 jobs, the lowest monthly job growth under the Trump Administration, so far.

The professional and business services sectors added 56,000 jobs and retail trade lost 30,000 jobs in March, according to the Labor Department.

In a statement about the March jobs report, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) said that the current economic growth, once again, disproves President Trump’s claim that he was handed ‘a mess’ by the Obama Administration.

“President Trump and Congressional Republicans have failed to build on the economic progress made during the Obama years,” said Scott.

Scott also noted that the House Republicans of the 115th Congress have rolled back protections that would help Americans stay safe at work, have access to a high-quality education, save for retirement, breathe clean air and drink clean water.