NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The August jobs report was dismal for plenty of reasons, but perhaps most striking was the picture it painted of racial inequality in the job market.
Black unemployment surged to 16.7% in August, its highest level since 1984, while the unemployment rate for whites fell slightly to 8%, the Labor Department reported.
“This month’s numbers continue to bear out that longstanding pattern that minorities have a much more challenging time getting jobs,” said Bill Rodgers, chief economist with the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.
Black unemployment has been roughly double that of whites since the government started tracking the figures in 1972.
Economists blame a variety of factors. The black workforce is younger than the white workforce, lower numbers of blacks get a college degree and many live in areas of the country that were harder hit by the recession — all things that could lead to a higher unemployment rate.
But even excluding those factors, blacks still are hit with higher joblessness.
Congressman Allen West responds:
Unemployment remained at 9.1%, but in the black community, it increased 15.9% to 16.7%. It’s clear why CBC avoids facts & is race baiting