The Jobs Report's Good News for Blacks

Economist Heather Boushey puts October's African-American unemployment figures in context.

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Friday's October jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed unemployment increasing slightly, up to 7.9 percent in October. But according to Center for American Progress economist Heather Boushey, the data underlying this rate reveal some good news.

In a piece for the Wall Street Journal's Market Watch, Boushey, focusing in part on numbers including the 171,000 jobs created in October, argues that the report is further proof that investing in the middle class is helping the American economy recover and putting the job market back on track.

The bureau's survey of households shows that over the past two months nearly a million (996,000) people entered or re-entered the labor force, while at the same time, 1.3 million people reported gaining employment.

In October, the share of the U.S. population reporting that they had a job ticked up slightly, from 58.7% to 58.8%, higher than any month since August 2009.

In October, there was a sharp uptick in hiring among retailers in sectors that are associated with people feeling more secure about their family finances, including big-ticket items such as home furnishings and automobiles. Car and car parts dealers added 7,300 jobs, more than in any month since the "cash for clunkers" program in late 2010. Furniture and home furnishing stores added 3,500 new jobs, more than in any single month since before the beginning of the Great Recession.

The news, she told The Root, is especially good for African Americans. "The labor-market numbers also show African Americans and white men gaining jobs. Looking at adults -- those aged 20 and over -- over the past month, the share of employed rose among white men by 0.2 percentage points, and among both African-American men and women by 0.6 percentage points," she said, adding that this positive trend holds true when we compare today's data with the numbers from October 2009. "Between then and October 2012, the share with a job among white men rose by 0.9 percentage points; among African-American men, by 1.0 percentage point; and among African-American women, by 1.2 percentage points."

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

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