The economy added 216,000 jobs in March, pushing the overall unemployment rate down to 8.8 percent, but African Americans do not appear to be sharing in the benefits of recent growth, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics' employment report. The employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) for African Americans fell by 0.3 percentage points to 51.9 percent, just 0.1 percentage points above the recession low hit in September. The EPOP for black teens stands at just 14.8 percent. The overall unemployment rate for African Americans rose by 0.2 percentage points to 15.5 percent.
Overall, the recent acceleration in job growth is encouraging, but it is still an extremely weak recovery from a severe downturn. Based on the experience of the last two severe recessions, 1974-75 and 1981-82, we should be expecting job growth in the range of 400,000 a month. Instead, we are still seeing a rate of job growth that is below the 250,000-a-month average from the 90s.
For more information, read our latest Jobs Byte.