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By JOHN CARNEY | Breitbart News
ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images
The unemployment rate for African-Americans fell to the lowest level ever recorded in August, dropping from 6 percent to 5.5 percent.
One result: the persistent gap between white and black unemployment also narrowed to its smallest on record.
The unemployment ratio has averaged around 2 to 1 or so for decades, meaning the black unemployment rate is typically twice the white unemployment rate. In good times, the unemployment rate of whites and blacks falls but the gap remains. And in bad times, the unemployment rate for whites and black rises, but black unemployment typically remains around twice that of white employment.
A year ago, the black unemployment rate stood at 6.6 percent while the white unemployment rate was 3.4 percent, meaning black unemployment was 185 percent of white unemployment.
In August, the gap narrowed so that black unemployment was under 162 percent of white unemployment. That is the smallest gap ever in records going back to January 1972.
This is particularly remarkable because it comes at a time of remarkably low unemployment. Prior to the Trump era, the last time the gap fell below 170 percent was in August of 2009, when the black unemployment rate was 14.8 percent and the white unemployment rate was 8.9 percent. Back then the gap declined because white unemployment was increasing at a faster clip than the already sky-high black unemployment.
In other words, the decline in employment inequality now is undeniably the best on record because it comes in the context of falling unemployment.
The U.S. Economy Created 130,000 Jobs in August, Wage Growth Accelerated, Unemployment 3.7%
By JOHN CARNEY | Breitbart News
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
The U.S. economy created 130,000 jobs in August and the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.7 percent.
Economists had expected the economy to between 150,000 and 180,000 with the median consensus at 163,000, according to Econoday. Unemployment was expected to remain unchanged. Last month’s jobs figure was originally reported at 164,000, now revised down to 159,000, and unemployment was 3.7 percent.
Although the headline number was weaker than expected, wage growth was strong in August. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 11 cents to $28.11, or 0.4 percent, following 9-cent gains in both June and July. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.2 percent. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 11 cents to $23.59.
Unemployment among African Americans fell to 5.5 percent, the lowest level on record.
The labor force participation rate edged up to 63.2 percent in August, indicating that the strong labor market has continued to draw Americans into the workforce.
The largest job gains came from professional and business services, which added 37,000. Census hiring boosted the federal government’s hiring to 28,000 workers. Health care added 24,000 to the total while financial services increased by 15,000.
There were little to no gains in August for construction, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, and leisure and hospitality. Holding the line on manufacturing jobs is a sign of strength, given signs that manufacturing activity fell this summer.
The retail sector shed 11,000 jobs, with department stores losing 15,000 jobs (partially offset by gains in other retail venues). Over the year, so-called “general merchandise” retails jobs have fallen by 80,000.
While the economy continued to grow in the second and third quarter, it has slowed from the rapid 3.1 percent rate of growth in the first three months of the year. Manufacturing appears to have contracted and business investment has been weak…
Consumer spending and the labor market have been strong. Data released Thursday showed worker compensation rising strongly and well-above inflation. Rising labor costs can promote capital investment by businesses seeking to make workers more productive.
With unemployment near 50-year lows, job growth has slowed and many businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Employment growth has averaged 158,000 per month thus far this year, compared with an average monthly gain of 223,000 in 2018.
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Author: Frances Rice