Black Unemployment Nearly Double National Rate, Twice As High As White Unemployment

The unemployment rate for African Americans was nearly twice the national average and more than double the unemployment rate for whites last month, according to new jobs data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the BLS, African Americans experienced an unemployment rate of 10.2 percent in May, up from 9.6 percent in April.

Meanwhile, the national average was 5.5 percent in May with whites experiencing an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent. Unemployment for Latinos was around the middle at 6.7 percent and Asians boasted the lowest unemployment rate with 4.1 percent.

While unemployment for African Americans remained high, the civilian labor force among African Americans expanded by 31,000 to 19,428,000 in May. The BLS reports that 17,441,000 African Americans were employed while 1,988 were unemployed. Another 11,898 were not in the labor force.

Whites also saw the level of participation in the labor force increase, with the civilian labor force growing by 365,000 to 123,875,000. Of that 118,048 were employed and 5,827 were unemployed with 72,798 out of the workforce.

Nationally the civilian labor force increased by 397,000, reaching 157,469,000 in May. Of those participating 148,795,000 had a job and 8,674,000 were unemployed. Some 92,986,000 were outside the labor force.

Despite the high unemployment rate for African Americans, the White House Friday touted the BLS economic report for May as “strongest month of the year so far” as the economy added 280,000 jobs.

“We have now added 5.6 million jobs over the past two years, the best two-year job growth since 2000. Although the job market has made considerable progress throughout this recovery, challenges remain for our economy and there is more work to do,” Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement.


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