Black Unemployment Rate Falls in October

The unemployment rate for Blacks fell to 15.1 percent from 16.0 percent in September. The overall jobless rate shrank slightly to 9.0 percent from 9.1 percent the previous month.

The the economy is showing signs of growth, albeit at painstakingly slow pace, confirmed the October jobs report released by the Labor Department Friday morning. The unemployment rate for Blacks fell to 15.1 percent, almost a full percentage point from 16.0 percent in September. The overall jobless rate shrank slightly to 9 percent from 9.1 percent the previous month.


According to Georgia Tech University economist Thomas Boston, the September figure was not so much a dip as it was a more accurate reflection of the Black unemployment picture because the August figure of 16.7 percent was falsely high because seasonal adjustments had not yet been made.


The economy added 80,000 jobs in October. That was the fewest amount in four months and below September's revised total of 158,000. In addition, this week the Labor Department reported that applications for unemployment benefits declined last week to 397,000, marking only the third time since April that applications have fallen below 400,000.


Boston warned that the debt crisis in Europe could negatively impact this nation’s burgeoning economic growth because the five largest financial institutions are heavily invested in both Europe and the most debt troubled countries, including Greece, Italy, Ireland and Portugal. If the banks have to write off as lost a large portion of that investment, those losses will be felt here at home in the form of less lending.


“That means more difficulty for African-American business owners, more difficulty for people trying to refinance mortgages and fewer opportunities for people who are confronting the likelihood of going into foreclosure to restructure mortgages,” Boston said. “All of that affects African-Americans more, so there is an connection between what’s happening in Europe and how it’s going to affect us here.”


In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) declined by 366,000 to 5.9 million, or 42.4 percent of total unemployment.

(Photo: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

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