The African-American jobless rate declined to 15.9 percent.
Attendees stand in lines that weave throughout a room filled with recruiting booths during a National Career Fairs job fair in Dallas, Texas. (Photo: AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
The unemployment rate dipped to 9.1 percent in July, a rate that was slightly better than expected. The economy added 117,000 private sector jobs, and the overall unemployment rate was a bit lower than in June when it was 9.2 percent.
For the first time in three months, the African-American unemployment rate actually declined, from 16.2 percent in May and June to 15.9 percent in July. That is good news, but only if the decline can be attributed to the fact that more Blacks have re-entered the workforce, and the odds aren't good. The overall unemployment rate fell partly because some unemployed workers stopped looking for work. That means they are no longer counted as unemployed, which is likely very true of many African-Americans who are out of both work and hope.
The unemployment rate for Black males stayed at 17 percent, while the rate for Black youths, aged 16 to 19, saw a decline from 39.9 to 39.2 percent.
The mild improvement in the overall unemployment figure may ease investors' concerns after the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted more than 500 points over concerns that the U.S. might be entering another recession, writes the Associated Press.
On Aug. 8, the Congressional Black Caucus will begin holding a series of job fairs and related town hall meetings in Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles, which have experienced some of the highest African-American unemployment rates. More than 120 employers with current job openings have agreed to participate, including several nationwide firms such as General Electric, Rite Aid Corporation and Pizza Hut. The CBC hopes to fill 10,000 positions.
“If you have jobs, we have thousands of people who need them,” said CBC Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri). “Washington has finally ended the seesaw game on the debt ceiling and now we can finally focus on real people who are suffering. We are pleased that many of our nation’s employers have stepped up to the plate to help remedy the crisis.”