While the overall unemployment rate in the United States dipped in December, it, unfortunately, rose for Black women, according to CNBC.
Surprisingly in December there was also a rise in entrepreneurship for Black women.
The Labor Department reported that the overall unemployment rate dropped to 3.9% from 4.2% in November. But, the unemployment rate for Black women increased to 6.2% from 4.9%. They were the only race and gender group whose unemployment rate declined in December. Although in November, the unemployment rate dropped for Black women which seemed to be a sign for improvement.
“The data for smaller demographic groups tend to be pretty volatile,” said Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute. “We need to look at longer-term trends to see what is happening.”
But the December rate for Black women does represent an improvement since the start of last year when it stood 8.5%.
“We’re definitely seeing improvement in the Black unemployment rate over a longer period of time ... but it’s still quite elevated,” Gould said.
The disparity in unemployment progress for Black women speaks to the uneven labor-force recovery throughout the Covid pandemic, according to Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
“What the December numbers signaled to me is that we are in for a bumpy, tumultuous ride ahead in terms of our recovery, especially for Black women and women of color workers who have been disproportionately impacted over the course of the pandemic,” Mason said.
For women overall, the unemployment rate was 2.6 percentage points lower than that of Black women. For all Black workers, the unemployment rate was 7.1%, which is more than double that of white workers whose unemployment rate was 3.2%, according to CNBC.
Which isn’t a surprise.
But, this report from the Labor Department does not show how the recent surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron (not Omarion) variant has affected jobs, as school and daycare openings have been hindered.
“Discrimination and occupational segregation and all sorts of other related factors have meant that outcomes for Black workers are worse in the labor market than that for white workers,” Gould said, according to CNBC. “That translates into historically a higher unemployment rate that’s about two times that of white workers throughout the business cycle.”