Monday, January 15, 2024

For MLK Day: Blacks are faring better during the post-pandemic Boom than at almost any time in the previous 50+ years


 - by New Deal democrat

On this MLK Jr. national holiday, let’s take a look at how Blacks are faring in the current economy.

And the answer is, pretty good!

The unemployment rate for Blacks in December was the 2nd lowest ever in 50+ years of history, at 5.2%. The lowest was last April at 4.8%:

The Black unemployment rate was only 1.7% higher than that for Whites, also the lowest gap in 50+ years (blue, right scale). Because Black unemployment has typically risen faster than White unemployment when the economy weakens, and has typically been in the range of twice the level of White unemployment, I also show the ratio of Black to While unemployment as well (red, left scale):

Black unemployment was slightly below 1.5x the level of White unemployment in December, the lowest multiple ever.

Finally, the employment-population ratio for Blacks was 60.1% (vs. 59.9% for Whites, not shown):

This is the 2nd lowest of the past 25 years, vs. last March’s 61.7%. These numbers were only exceeded during the late 1990s tech Boom, peaking at 61.4%, vs. 65.5% for Whites.

The post-pandemic jobs Boom hasn’t just been a “rising tide lifting all boats,” it has particularly benefitted those historically most marginalized in the jobs market.