As job prospects for Whites and Black men have slowed or stalled completely, Black women continue to gain ground in a weak labor market, according to the latest jobs report.
“Over the last few months, Black women have seen the greatest decline in their unemployment rate, so there is a continual improvement taking place,” said Valerie R. Wilson, chief economist for the National Urban League. “It looks like there were actual gains in employment for Black women.”
In fact, compared to the other adult groups over 20 years old, Black women have experienced the greatest decline in their unemployment rate since September 2012.
The unemployment rate for Black women over 20 years old was 10 percent in September 2013, a 1.2 percent decrease since September 2012 and the lowest mark for Black women since March 2009.
The unemployment rate for White women was 5.5 percent in September 2013, a 0.8 percent improvement over the 6.3 percent rate recorded in September 2012.
The jobless rate for White men was 6.1 percent in September 2013, down slightly from 6.6 percent in September 2012. The unemployment rate for Black men over 20 years old has barely changed since last September when it was 14.1 percent.
A year later, the unemployment rate for Black men was still 14 percent.
Even as some economists such as Wilson recognize the September unemployment rate for Black women was the lowest mark in more than four years, they acknowledged that those gains came at a price; many of the jobs available to Black women were in industries that traditionally pay low wages.
Wilson said that a lot of the job growth has been in the leisure and hospitality sector and professional and business services.
The economy added 148,000 jobs total in September and the national unemployment rate edged down to 7.2 percent in September.